The Regional District of Central Kootenay has adopted a COVID-19 vaccination policy that asks employees and volunteer firefighters to provide proof they are fully vaccinated by Dec. 3 to be able to work inside any RDCK worksite. That includes offices, rec centres, and fire halls.

Employees and fire services personnel who are not able or choose not to present proof of vaccination will be required to follow enhanced safety measures, such as wearing masks at all times when working indoors.

The board approved the policy Thursday, but chair Aimee Watson says it followed an hour and a half of debate, and several proposed amendments. In the end, three directors voted against it.

“It’s a fine line to ensure the health and safety of the public using the facilities while also respecting the rights of individuals,” Watson said. “The policy did a good job of not being punitive.”

The policy as adopted was largely as it was presented by staff. Four amendments were proposed, but only one was adopted to clarify that the definitions in the policy of “fully vaccinated” matched the one provided by the BC Centre for Disease Control. Another amendment, proposed by Watson, to remove volunteer fire departments was defeated.

Watson said while the three directors who voted against it were “strongly opposed,” she feels that the policy strikes an appropriate balance. “It requests staff to provide proof [of vaccination], but if they choose not to, they don’t have to and you will not lose your job over that.”