A municipal councillor from West Nipissing in Ontario has issued an apology to community members who were affected by a mandatory vaccination policy that lasted a year.
At a council meeting on Jan. 3, immediately after the council rescinded the municipality’s mandatory vaccination policy, Councillor Anne Tessier said she wanted to apologize for the policy and proceeded to read a statement. An excerpt of her speech surfaced on social media on March 2, while the original full-length council meeting was posted on the council’s YouTube channel.
“I want to take a moment to acknowledge that this policy caused a lot of unnecessary harm and animosity within our workforce and community,” Tessier said.
“I believe that this possible policy was mistakenly adopted 12 months ago. The general population knows that today, that the COVID vaccine doesn’t stop the spread of the virus. Twelve months ago, the municipal council was well aware that the spread did not correlate with vaccination status prior to this policy being adopted.”
Despite a constituent having presented public health Ontario data to the council showing that by January 2022, “there were equally or more cases reported per capita in vaccinated people versus unvaccinated people,” she said, the outcome of the council’s vote “resulted in the implementation of this punitive policy.”
“With all my heart, I extend my apologies to those who were affected negatively by this policy and I hope that as a municipality and a community, we can move forward,” Tessier said.
Tessier did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The council passed the resolution to end the vaccination policy following a meeting held on Dec. 20, where council agreed with municipality staff that recommended it be rescinded.
West Nipissing is a bilingual community in northeastern Ontario, with approximately half the population living in Sturgeon Falls.