A rookie Ontario councillor presented a motion to return the decision-making process on mandatory vaccines for municipal staff into the hands of council. However, Coun. Rhonda Jubenville's motion was defeated in a 12 to 5 vote.
Her motion, seconded by South Kent Coun. Ryan Doyle, saw yes votes coming from Chatham councillors Conor Allin, Michael Bondy, and East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault.
While no discussion took place on the actual vote, three deputations against COVID vaccine mandates were presented earlier in the meeting.
Though Jubenville's motion did not specify COVID vaccinations, in part, the motion said, "further vaccination employment policies be decided upon collaboratively between Chatham-Kent council and the Chatham-Kent Management Team through consultation and majority agreement through dialogue and council votes."
The rookie councilwoman said she believes Chatham-Kent needs to be proactive and align with other Ontario jurisdictions where the council makes vaccine decisions.
"Unless otherwise mandated by our province, I feel it is prudent that our voting system should decide upon any decision regarding the mandating or policy surrounding mandates or enforcement," said Jubenville.
The former New Blue candidate in Chatham-Kent—Leamington said last May that she believes measures such as masks and vaccines should have been an individual choice rather than mandates.
Jubenville clarified that she never wanted to be considered a politician but rather an advocate for constituents. She added that the needs of her constituents will "always be at the forefront" of her efforts.
"I couldn't sit back and watch any longer. I needed to do something," said Jubenville.