Millroy: The Unvaccinated and Shopping Carts

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This column was written prior to the meeting of council.

Being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will now be required of anyone taking a job with the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

But the city has stopped short of asking the same of those already in its workforce.
Instead, present employees will be asked to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status by Tuesday, Oct. 5, a story on SooToday reveals..

“Those employees that are not fully vaccinated or do not disclose their status will be required to attend mandatory education on the benefits of vaccination,” said Malcolm White, the city’s chief administrative officer.

“As well, the city will work with employees on an individual basis to ensure they have access to specific information relating to individual concerns they may have regarding vaccines,” White says in a report prepared for city council.

“These employees will also be required to submit to regular rapid antigen testing to ensure negative test results.”

Sounds good, but I think the proposed move is a step short.

Vaccination should not only be required of new hires; it should be required of all employees.

White is quoted as saying that he knows some of the city’s employees are not fully vaccinated, but says “there is a need to balance the human rights and privacy rights of employees with our obligation to protect employees and workplaces.”

“It should be understood that this policy will be an evolving policy which will continue to be informed by provincial legislation, public health advice and direction and any relevant arbitration and/or legal decisions.”

I hope it evolves quickly because I take issue with his comment about balancing “the human and privacy rights of employees with our obligation to protect employees.”

There is no balancing act required.

As far as privacy goes, I see that as a non-starter.

And surely an employee’s rights do not extend to the point that they can endanger their fellow employees; being unvaccinated can do just that.

And that, as far as I am concerned, means the city has to step in, the relevant part of what White said being the city’s obligation to protect its employees.
That is what it needs to do and requiring that all employees be vaccinated would cover that.

It would not be alone in doing this. Toronto has done it, saying it has to protect its employees; the federal government plans to do it as does the Biden administration in the United States.

Vaccine and mask mandates are becoming the norm as the Delta variant of COVID is wreaking havoc everywhere.
The city should take that one more step required, the vaccination of all employees, to join the fight against it.

SPEAKING OF HUMAN RIGHTS, there are those who will undoubtedly object to the Ontario government’s decision that starting Sept. 22, anyone wanting to go to restaurants, gyms, cinemas, casinos, and many other non-essential businesses will need proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

“We have two options here. We either do this or we risk shutting down the economy, which would even be worse, having our hospital capacity maxed out and at the brink, having our kids stay at home, our college and university kids going back online. That is what we are trying to avoid,” Premier Doug Ford said at a news conference.
The premier is right. This is no time for pussy-footing around. Hard decisions that come out hard must be made as we do not want another lockdown

The unvaccinated are a danger to us all. Measures such as what the government has decreed just might give them the idea that for life to return to normal for them they must make the same sacrifices the rest of us are making.

NOTING A STORY on saultonline that said the new by-law regulating shopping carts in the city is now in effect, I thought I saw an opening for a young entepreneur.

As part of the by-law, business owners who provide shopping carts to their customers are required to develop and file a plan with the city’s Director of Public Works and Engineering Services identifying which measures it will take to keep the carts on their property or to retrieve them.

The story said the plan must include details of the business owner’s operation and timeline of how carts shall be retrieved and returned to the business owner’s premises, a description of the owner’s carts including any easily identifiable features and the contact person and information for the business owner who will be called if carts are found off site.

“Effective immediately, businesses can be fined for having shopping carts left on sidewalks, boulevards and paths throughout our city,” said Susan Hamilton Beach, Director of Public Works and Engineering Services. “We recognize that business owners face great challenges in the collection of their carts and we will work with these businesses to provide practical controls and a system to assist in facilitating the pick-up of abandoned shopping carts.”

Maybe the system to assist in the pickup of carts could be that all the businesses involved kick in to a pot, on a pro-rated basis, that would allow for someone to prowl the city looking for abandoned carts, picking them up and returning them to their rightful owners.

Personally, I didn’t see the need for the bylaw. I have seen abandoned carts but not in the numbers that I thought a bylaw was required.

But since it is here, having one person or business handle the job of retrieving them should save every business having to come up with a plan.

 

11 COMMENTS

  1. CAO White’s comments regarding the private rights of the unvaccinated reminds me of an interaction I had with him at City Hall.

    Several years ago I was in the Clerk’s Office speaking to then Clerk White about something. I went to take out my phone to record his answer so I could quote him later, and Clerk White told me he had a right to privacy, and, therefore, would not answer my question if I insisted on recording it.

    I did not record his answer.

    During that interaction Clerk White was acting as an employee and spokesperson of the city, and was not acting in a personal capacity. There is no guarantee of personal privacy from being recorded when acting as a spokesperson for the city. It was part of his job to do so whether or not he was being recorded. If he wanted personal privacy when performing his job he should have resigned and enjoyed all of the personal privacy he wanted.

    Similarly there is no guarantee of personal freedom from getting vaccinated if it is a requirement of employment with the city in order to have a safe workplace. Either get vaccinated and safeguard the workplace, or resign your position with the city and enjoy your personal freedom not to get vaccinated. Simple.

    For some people getting vaccinated is a very scary choice, and for others being around unvaccinated people at work is a very scary situation. Unfortunately City Council kept the threat of COVID alive for every employee by allowing unvaccinated employees to work for the city.

    Real leadership was required, and City Council failed all City employees by not mandating vaccines.

  2. The shopping cart by law is ridiculous. You can’t buy these carts or rent them or borrow them from the retailers so when people are seen pushing them around town that means that they stole them. I thought theft was a crime so why are the police not charging them, because if I see them the police must see them too. What is next if someone walks in your front door robs something from your home and throws it in the ditch you get the fine, because your front door wasn’t locked. When there are no consequences for your actions why would anyone stop.

  3. If you think the black flies are bad, and you decide you’re going to spray yourself down, does it make sense to suggest that “Well, my bug spray only works if you put bug spray on, too!”

    Either vaccines work, in which case the unvaccinated are no danger to anyone whatsoever, or the vaccines do not, in which case no one should be advocating for their (coerced) administration.

    Who’s to blame on these military and cruise ships where 100% of people are vaccinated and yet we’re still seeing outbreaks? When is enough going to be enough for you guys?

    • matt enough will be enough when the icu’s are not filled with covid patients.It seems that the only way to convince antivaxers that this pandemic is real is if someone close to them got extremely sick or even worse. What a shame that it has come to this.

  4. The stores have been paying various individuals for years a few bucks per cart to return them. Food Basics has buried a cable around the perimeter of their parking lot to apply a wheel brake on the cart if you try to leave the parking lot with it.

    • I’m sure there will be a focused approach to this since everything seems to think businesses have deep pockets.
      It’s Provenzano & council’s liberal thinking – the end customer (us) will end up paying higher food prices to offset the added expense.
      After reviewing Sheehan’s voting record it seems like he voted against tax relief bills for farmers which would have eased the cost of food for Canadians but I guess we can’t have that. Just need to buy more from China.
      We definitely need municipal and federal government representatives that actually care about us lowly taxpayers.

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