Hamilton city council just voted to keep their vaccine mandate, which will see 441 employees fired, including 30-40 firefighters.
“Today is the saddest day of my life,” said city councillor Esther Pauls, who voted to scrap the policy.
“Why did we follow [the province’s] mandates, their rules, for two and a half years, and today, we’re saying we don’t want to follow what they’re saying.”
“It does not affect only them – but their spouses, their parents, their children — it affects everybody!”
Four hundred forty-one employees, including 30-40 firefighters, are expected to lose their jobs by June 1 due to the change in vaccine mandate policy.
“It doesn’t send a good message when you take heroes like my members are,” said Stan Double, president of Hamilton Firefighters Association. “It just seems confusing.”
“Replacing 30-40 firefighters is not an easy task.”
The statistics in Ontario currently show a much higher infection rate among those vaccinated plus boosted compared to those who are unvaccinated. For example, 28 out of 100,000 vaccinated plus boosted individuals are getting infected daily, compared to just 14 unvaccinated individuals. Moreover, the death rate difference between the two groups is negligible, 0.6 per cent compared to 0.7 per cent, respectively.
Furthermore, by only requiring two shots, the policy fails to account for the fact that vaccine efficacy (if it exists at all) wanes over time, with this being common knowledge now.
Nonetheless, Hamilton’s Mayor, Fred Eisenberger, supports the vote, believing the coercive policy will effectively drive up the vaccinations from the current rate of 91 per cent in the province.
“Ensuring high rates of vaccination remains one of the most important ways we can protect our community,” said Eisenberger.
In response, CUPE Local 5167 union president Jay Hunter said he’s disappointed councillors “continued with this punitive policy.”
“We believe the best vaccine policies are voluntary and not coercive.”
CUPE subsequently announced that grievances would be filed to challenge the policy.