A major Richmond retailer says all employees will soon be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof they got the jab.
London Drugs has announced it is implementing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for all employees as a condition of employment.
As a healthcare provider of essential goods and services, the policy was introduced in order to “ensure a safe, ongoing and resilient environment for employees and customers,” London Drugs explains in a statement.
The new policy, effective Nov. 1, only applies to employees. The company said that, at this time, it will not be introducing proof of vaccination for customers.
London Drugs said it has provided notice of the change in employment conditions to all employees, and between now and Nov. 1, the company will be introducing procedures to “support its goal of achieving a fully vaccinated workforce.”
“Given the high degree of health risk spread with the variants of concern to the unvaccinated and under vaccinated, such as children unable to be vaccinated, those with immunocompromised health conditions, and seniors with less resilience to the virus, we have a responsibility to make our retail spaces and pharmacies safe and accessible for all,” said Clint Mahlman, London Drugs’ president and COO.
“We understand this is a significant step in our precautionary approach to COVID-19. The overall protection of the health and safety of our employees and their families remains our utmost priority and given the risk factors, we need to take steps to further mitigate at this time,” Mahlman added.
Under the new policy, all London Drugs employees must be fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine following the recommended dosing intervals, in order to be eligible to work at London Drugs. This may be extended to include booster requirements if recommended by public health in the future.
Furthermore, employees will be required to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status, booster vaccination status, and show proof of approved government documentation to their manager so it may be tracked.
The company said it won’t retain the vaccination documentation, but the date of vaccination and proof of authenticity of the employee’s vaccination status will be recorded.
However, there will be accommodations for London Drugs employees who can’t be vaccinated for medically-approved reasons or other protected legal grounds.
In these cases, the employees will have to be tested with an approved COVID-19 test, based on their hours of work and exposure to others.
Meanwhile, employees who choose not to get vaccinated, provide vaccination documentation, or maintain boosters for non-medical or legal reasons “will be required to submit to ongoing testing to be eligible for work hours.”
The company added that it understands from its employees that there is already a “very high vaccination rate,” however, unvaccinated employees will be given the “requisite amount of time” to become fully vaccinated.
The Richmond News has also reached out to Costco and Loblaws, which owns Shoppers Drug Mart and other chains, to see if they will be or are looking at implementing a vaccination policy for their employees.
A spokesperson for Costco said the company has no comment on the matter at this time.