• Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

Health Administration

Come One, Come All To Health Administration

City council votes to remove masking and proof of vaccine orders

The City of Regina will move in lockstep with the province as COVID restrictions are set to lift next week and at the end of the month

Article content

The City of Regina will follow the province as it plans to remove proof of vaccination orders starting Monday and will look to phase out mask mandates at the end of February.

Advertisement 2

Article content

City councillors had four matters to vote on during Friday’s special meeting of council, which recommended an end to all current municipal orders related to COVID-19.

The motions, which were recommended by administration, were: to immediately rescind emergency powers delegated to the city manager (this passed 9–1 with Coun. Andrew Stevens (Ward 3) the sole detractor); lift masking restrictions for transit at the end of February (this passed 6–4 with Coun. Cheryl Stadnichuk (Ward 1), Coun. Bob Hawkins (Ward 2), Stevens and Coun. Shanon Zachidniak (Ward 8) voting against); for council to return to in-person meetings on March 1 (this passed 7–3 with Stadnichuk, Hawkins and Zachidniak voting against) and to remove proof vaccination or negative test requirements for City of Regina facilities as of Monday (this passed 8–2 with Stadnichuk and Zachidniak voting against).

Coun. Dan LeBlanc (Ward 6) was not present.

Asked if she felt the city was strong-armed into following the province Mayor Sandra Masters said, no.

“We are going based upon the consistency of continuing to follow the public health order,” she said.

“If things change, well, then we’ll adapt again just as we have for the last two years.”

Louise Folk, executive director of people and transformation, said the city administration’s recommendations were made to be in line with other jurisdictions in Saskatchewan. She also said without provincial backing, it will make it hard to maintain the current measures.

Advertisement 3

Article content

“It’s very difficult to maintain the restrictions we have in place without a provincial health order,” she said, adding it contributes to confusion if there are different rules across cities and regions.

Folk said the city will continue to encourage mask use and will stress public health messages.

There were 17 people set to address council, but only 15 spoke. More were in favour of scrapping the mandates than those who supported their continuation.

First to talk was Sheila Swerid who said she understood that the city was “in a really difficult situation” but felt the decision should not be politicized, that it should be up to the medical and public health community.

“I don’t think we should be lifting it as fast as we are,” said Swerid, who feared that people would be bullied for wearing masks and that no business will hold on to the proof of vaccine checks.

Amanda Hayward, who said she had a background in critical care nursing, spoke to council as the parent of a child with special needs. She said her religious convictions prevent her from getting the vaccine and asked that the measures be dropped. She spoke of the added strain the mandates placed on her family, and the inability of her son — who has autism — to access swimming lessons.

Carol Schick mentioned that in the summer of 2021 when all measures were abandoned, COVID-19 cases jumped and eventually led to the province’s Delta wave.

“It was a big mistake,” she said.

“Whereas making mistakes during a pandemic is not surprising, repeating them a second time is baseless and stupid. It means we are incapable of learning,” said Schick, urging council to wait on scraping measures.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Kelsey Pippin asked that “divisive rules” not just be lifted but “outlawed,” saying the mandates and orders fly in the face of the human rights code and Canadian Charter. Pippin claimed the vaccines do not prevent the spread of COVID and claimed she feels there is the notion that the vaccinated “are somehow better people” than those who are not. She claimed there has been “a government smear campaign” against the unvaccinated.

Sue Deranger, said the people talking about “freedom” are failing to consider the needs of vulnerable people. She herself is disabled and immunocompromised. She asked that they not lift the restrictions as it will effectively mean an end to her ability to safely go out in public.

“I will be made a prisoner. People talk about freedom and charter of rights, let’s talk about disability rights and the Accessible Canada act,” she said. “This is taking away the rights of disabled people.”

Dan Coggins, an older adult with chronic asthma, said he wants an end to the proof of vaccine and masking mandates but he also wants a “1963 Studebaker Avanti.”

“I can’t afford it. Today, you’re deciding whether the city can afford to remove some public safety measures,” he said, suggesting that the city cannot.

[email protected]

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *