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End of Summer Greetings in Christ,

As we continue to walk through Covid 19 together, the Executive of Shining Water Regional Council would like to express their deep appreciation and encouragement as we serve our Communities of Faith and many outreach ministries. Both staff and volunteers have worked countless hours, preparing, changing, experimenting, and succeeding in continuing as Church in new and creative ways. As an Executive we have heard stories of sacrifice, perseverance and success. We have also heard stories of stress, frustration and struggle.

As we continue into Fall, we express deep gratitude for the work of health care workers. We are grateful for the success of the vaccine and the ever-increasing vaccine rate in Ontario. We also pray for the continued vaccination of folks around the world. We also pray for those who have concerns about the vaccine and encourage those folks to discuss vaccination with their doctor.

As a community, we continue to be on a long journey together, we celebrate the resilience of our Church, and the expression of the Gospel in many new and creative ways,

In Christ,

David Leyton Brown, President, Shining Waters Regional Council

Peter Hartmans, Executive Minister, Shining Waters Regional Council

Latest Update – September 23, 2021

Recently The United Church of Canada General Council Office provided updated legal advice for Communities of Faith in Ontario. On September 22, 2021 the Ontario Vaccine policy will be implemented in Ontario. The passport policy does not apply to places of worship (places of worship are exempt), however, it may apply to your meeting and event spaces.

You can find more information here:

Update on Ontario Vaccine Passports and Mandatory Vaccination Policies – (PDF | 3 pages) September 22, 2021

Please direct specific regulation questions to your local public health unit for best advice.You can also reach out to your Regional Council Congregational Support Minister (Jody Maltby, jmaltby@united-church.ca) or Pastoral Relations Minister. ( Dale Hildebrand, dhildebrand@united-church.ca)

 

CHURCH EMPLOYEES AND COVID-19

There have been some new developments and updates regarding Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) and mandatory vaccinations for church employees.

In summary, IDEL, the temporary provision in the Ontario Employment Standards Act that allows for longer lay-offs and protects an employee’s job status while they are on a lay-off, has been extended to December 31, 2021. It was set to expire on September 25. This means that if you have an employee who was earlier placed on IDEL, that employee does not need to be returned to their job until December 31.

You can find more information here:

Infectious Disease Emergency Leave   (IDEL) Update – (PDF | 3 pages) September 22, 2021

The legal advice around mandatory vaccinations for employees has also been updated. In early summer, the legal advice then was that unless otherwise regulated by the government (e.g., health care workers), employers could run the risk of constructive dismissal if making vaccinations mandatory for their employees. The prevailing direction in Canada is now towards mandatory vaccinations in many workplaces.

The new advice is “not implementing mandatory vaccination policies in a workplace is now the riskier choice, since the obligation of employers to provide a safe workplace outweighs the chance of a human rights code violation or other infringement on the individual.”

You can find more information here:

Mandatory Vaccination Policy – (PDF | 1 page) September 22, 2021

If you are a Community of Faith looking for assistance, please contact Jody Maltby at jmaltby@united-chuch.ca.

If you are an M&P Committee looking for support, please contact Dale Hildebrand at dhildebrand@united-church.ca

Beyond the letter of the law, as people of faith, we are called to uphold the whole community and contribute wherever we can to well-being and safety. We are mindful of all the ways communities of faith have continued to be the church and we continue to hold all of you in our prayers.

Shining Waters Regional Council Staff