Wednesday, July 27, 2022

City's Employment Vaccination policy makes for controversial Committee of the Whole contribution

Prince Rupert resident Marc Page attempted to discuss the
City's vaccination hiring policy, but discussion was 
quickly shut down during the Committee of the Whole session

The topic of the City's Employment vaccination program was of some note to one participant at the Monday evening Council session, with local resident Marc Page looking to raise the topic as part of the Committee of the Whole process.

As part of his preamble to the discussion, Mr. Page, stating that he wasn't representing anyone but himself and maybe a few other concerned citizens in the community.

As part of his presentation to Council, he provided an extensive review of his past volunteer work with youth in the city, as well as some of his past work with the City on youth engagement. 

He then turned the topic of discussion towards his hopes to return to civic employ to resume some of that community participation, but that he now finds that the city's vaccine policy is proving to be an impediment to that employment possibility.

"Upon trying to hire me, Heidi informed me of the new vaccine hiring policy and informed me that I would not be able to run this, or nay program ..." -- City resident Marc Page at Council on Monday evening

That was about as far as he got into the discussion, the conversation then quickly terminated by City Manager Rob Buchan,  who reminded Council that when it came to Labour issues for the City, that topic should only be discussed in camera (closed session) and not in a public setting.

"I think the speaker is getting into a labour relations matter which would be an in camera matter ... I would recommend that any discussion about the city's/administrations vaccine policy for new employees is a matter that is in camera, so it is not  for public discussion in an open meeting" 

Councillor Cunningham did suggest that Council could invite Mr. Page to a closed session in the future to hear his comments related to the vaccination issue. 

Councillor Skelton-Morven picked up on the City Manager's guidance towards an invitation advising how the city views the issues of discussion of labour matters.

"What the City Manager is getting at, it's just like that when it comes to labour relations or anything on legal matters and things regarding the municipality. That we don't have these kind of discussions  publicly. 

So what we're looking at and what Councillor Cunningham is proposing is that for like an invitation to have this discussion in the future, and in camera what he means is in a Closed session, that's regarding labour matters"

That provided an observation from Mr. Page, that by looking at his notes what he had to say was probably against what the Council would want to hear on camera right now.

Mr Skelton-Morven also  noted that it wasn't a case of them not wanting to hear him but part of their process.

"Just for clarification's sake, it's not that folks are not wanting to hear this, it's just that legal parameters around labour relations and things like that, these are things that we just can't discuss publicly"

Mr. Page did attempt to carry forward with his talking points, however after a third attempt and running afoul of the direction of the City manager related to the topic,  the microphone feed was cut, bringing an end to his presentation.

Mr. Page did leave behind some of his notes from his abandoned presentation for the City's administrator.

The City's Vaccination Policy was introduced in the fall of 2021, and as we noted at the time, it arrived on the city's website with little advance notice. 

The City of Prince Rupert's COVID vaccination policy
which was adopted in November of 2021

The implementation of the measure was a topic that was not discussed ore explained to the public last fall in the public forum of Council Session by the council members, prior to it becoming the requirement for new hires for the city.

Mr. Page's contribution to the topic on Monday comes as some vaccination mandates for other employment providers seem to have been eliminated, or are on the cusp of being lifted.

You can review the conversation, such as it was on Monday, from the City's Video archive starting at the four minute mark.

More notes on Monday's Council session can be explored from our Council Timeline Feature here.

A wider overview of the city's Labour themes is available here, while past Council Discussion topics are explored through our archive page here.


  1. Individual cases should be discussed in closed meetings to protect personal privacy, but the city's vaccination policy as a matter of public policy that applies to any new hire regardless of who they are can and should be discussed in public. Individual cases aside, labour relations "may" be considered in a closed meeting, but it is not on the list of subjects that "must" be discussed in a closed meeting.

  2. That is weak of the City Manager and council. This is a policy decision by the City. They were in the wrong here and should have spoken to the person issue and resident.