By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

For folks who may be wanting to participate on community boards within Wheatland County, they may need to prepare themselves to get COVID-19 vaccinated. 

Wheatland County Council discussed on Dec. 8 during the regular council meeting the possible requirements of having members of community boards vaccinated against COVID-19.  

Councilor Tom Ikert noted he was not entirely sure what powers a board has by itself whether to require its members to be vaccinated. 

“I’m trying to figure out just what a board is allowed and not allowed to do. (At) the last Wheatland housing management board meeting, it was brought forward that everybody on the board should be vaccinated,” he said. 

“The problem is we have now lost a board member – a very important board member, he was the only one on the building committee that had any building experience. Because he cannot meet the requirements, he resigned.” 

Ikert added he does not believe a board has the authority to enforce such a restriction. 

During the conversation, it was brought up by Councillor Rick Laursen that it is becoming commonplace to display proof of vaccination at a growing number of functions, events and meetings. 

“Certainly, at the RMA Convention we had to show proof, and then we were given a band at every function that we went to,” he explained. 

Councilor Scott Klassen made it known he believes firmly in a person’s choice whether or not to become vaccinated, and suggested restricting someone from an activity based on their immunization was a form of segregation. 

“If the provincial government states something, which they could at any day, then I think that’s for them to call. I don’t think it’s us… but that’s just what I think,” he said. 

“I represent a number of individuals in my division that I know have chosen not to get vaccinated, they have said that to me in confidence, that’s their own decision.” 

A portion of the discussion was held when council retreated to an in-camera session. 

Following the in-camera session, council voted to direct administration to inquire about the legitimacies of boards requiring their members to verify their vaccination status as a condition of their membership. 

This item is reprinted with permission from Strathmore Times, Wheatland County, Alberta.

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