November 18th, 2021, the board of Columbia Shuswap Regional District, CSRD, voted unanimously to implement a mandatory vaccination policy to all elected officials, CSRD employees, paid-on-call volunteer firefighters, contractors working indoor spaces, and emergency management volunteers. The policy went to effect on January 3rd, 2022.
The Chief Administrative Officer, CEO, of CSRD Charles Hamilton already announced in October 2021: “Health officials and scientists in Canada, and around the world, agree the best way to reduce the impact of Covid-19 in our communities is to be fully vaccinated. This proposed policy will help to protect everyone in our workplaces.” He continued: “The CSRD has already strongly encouraged staff to be vaccinated, not only to protect their personal health but to ensure the safety and well-being of their colleagues and members of the public. Implementing a vaccination policy provides an added layer of protection for our communities.”
As a result of the vaccination policy mandate, CSRD lost 47 paid-on-call firefighters. 43 were leave of absence and 4 resigned, including 2 fire chiefs in all 13 CSRD’s fire departments. Fire Department in Swansea Point had its membership drop bellow recommended 15 members.
Derek Sutherland, Team Leader, Protective Services said:” We respect the firefighters’ right to make their own decisions about vaccination. But, as an organization, we need to be committed to the safety of our teams and the public. This policy was put in place by the Board because vaccines are among the best methods of protecting the health and safety of you, and those around you, from the risks of Covid- 19.”
As of February 4th, 2022, CSRD has 263 active firefighters. Derek Sutherland assures the public that high-quality services will be maintained in all CSRD. In the few cases where membership has dipped, fire service will be maintained through mutual aid agreements with other fire halls.
Back to January 2021, CEO Charles Hamilton received, from concerned residents, multiple pages of documents of Covid 19 evidence from doctors and scientists around the world, where they declared that the virus Covid 19 was not isolated, a “vaccine” against Covid 19 are experimental and very dangerous, masks are not effective to protect against spreading the virus same as social distancing and hand sanitizing. Part of the documents included a history of how the World Health Organization, WHO, changed the definition of “pandemic”, back to 2009 and how the government supported scientific research about coronaviruses back in 2015, and all history about Covid 19. Residents didn’t get feedback yet.