OBIA asking Town to eliminate proof of vaccination requirement for volunteers who don’t meet in-person

November 25, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

The Orangeville Business Improvement Association (OBIA) is requesting that the Town of Orangeville change course on its COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for volunteers who attend meetings remotely.

Since all OBIA meetings are conducted virtually, volunteers who attend these meetings have no risk of COVID-19 transmission, wrote OBIA General Manager, Alison Scheel in a letter to the Town, which appeared on Council’s Nov. 22 meeting agenda.

While she applauded Council’s commitment to protecting OBIA members and Town staff who meet in-person, through mandated vaccinations, she noted that requiring remote volunteers to provide proof of vaccination creates an unnecessary burden for them.

“As there is no risk of volunteers contracting or spreading COVID-19 during virtual meetings, the OBIA Board respectfully requests that Council reconsider its policy as it relates to requiring volunteer Local Board and Committee members to be vaccinated if they are only participating remotely,” Scheel wrote in the letter. “Dedicated volunteers are often in short supply, and the Town of Orangeville’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for Members of Council, Local Boards and Committees puts an undue burden on volunteers who are sharing their time and expertise virtually as well as the Boards and Committees they support.”

The deadline to confirm receipt of a two doses series of an approved COVID-19 is next Tuesday (Nov. 30), without being forcibly removed.

Come Tuesday, up to two out of seven of the OBIA members will no longer be eligible to volunteer.

Scheel told the Citizen the two individuals do not feel comfortable providing the Town with personal health information to perform virtual volunteer duties.

“Both of these members support Council’s proof of vaccination requirements for in-person volunteer work, but they don’t understand why it is required for remote work. They feel very strongly about this issue and have chosen not to comply,” she said. “These board members were very dedicated volunteers who served on the BIA Board for over seven years.”

Running a small business is very demanding, so finding new small business owners who are willing to dedicate their free time to volunteer on the OBIA Board can be challenging, Scheel noted.

The OBIA is now actively seeking new board members to fill the upcoming vacant seats. A total of nine people can sit on the OBIA Board, so with up to two incoming vacancies, there will be three to four empty seats.

“Thankfully, the OBIA has built a strong framework and the remaining Board members are very engaged in the recruitment process. I anticipate that the Board will fill the newly vacant seats over the next few months,” said Scheel.

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