Lakeland College is an agriculture and technical trade school about two hours east of Edmonton, Alberta. Like so many postsecondary institutions across the province, the students and faculty there are struggling to navigate the new vaccine passport rules handed down by the Kenney government.
I spoke to a group of students who do not want to divulge their vaccination status on the campus at Lakeland. They told me that the "reasonable accommodation" provided to them by college admin involved an hour and a half round trip several times a month for out of pocket COVID testing in Lloydminster. It was an ordeal the students calculated costs about $700-800 a month in extra expenses for students on already tight budgets.
Online learning isn't really an option when part of their education involves running farm machinery, feeding livestock and caring for animals and crops. The COVID risk is already low with many of the school's programs — being outdoor farming and all. I left frustrated with the situation and wanted to do something to help, so that these eventual managers of Canada's food supply aren't forced to give up the careers they were working so hard to build.
But future farmers are doers and problem solvers. They took the bull by the horns and organized themselves into a force to fight back!
The students pressured the school to bring in onsite rapid testing for free for a few weeks, and then at $5 dollars per test until the end of the year. The future of onsite rapid testing at Lakeland past that date is uncertain.
If you want to get involved in the fight to oppose vaccine requirements for work, school, and participation in normal life, please donate at www.FightVaccinePassports.com. All donations qualify for a charitable tax receipt from the registered Canadian charity, The Democracy Fund.