Skip to content

North Battleford council looking at expanded proof-of-vax requirements

Councillor Thomas “Bill” Ironstand called for proof of double-vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in the previous 72 hours, to come into effect at all City facilities. 
North Battleford council Oct. 25 1
Councillor Bill Ironstand (below) raised issue of proof of vaccination at North Battleford council’s virtual meeting on Zoom on Monday.

NORTH BATTLEFORD - There could be expanded proof of vaccination restrictions coming to more city facilities in North Battleford soon.

At their council meeting Monday, Councillor Thomas “Bill” Ironstand offered a motion to require proof of double-vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in the last 72 hours, to be in effect at all City facilities. 

Ironstand wanted to see similar restrictions to those brought in in Saskatoon and Prince Albert, to fill gaps in the provincial health order.

“This is something we need to adopt, we need to get into this fight,” said Ironstand. He also said he wanted to start a campaign on City Council's vaccination status. “Let’s be the leaders, show people we have our vaccinations,” said Ironstand.

Ultimately, Ironstand withdrew his motion as Administration pledged to get further information back to council on potential requirements the city could bring in. 

The consensus that emerged from the meeting was that there was a desire to take more action, but that more information was needed. Council was particularly interested in possibly hearing from the Northwest area’s Medical Health Officer, Dr. Mandiangu Nsungu, with his recommendations prior to making a decision. 

The suggestion from Administration was to set a date at which they could hear from Dr. Nsungu and discuss the issue at length. The consensus from the meeting is that council reconvene on the issue as soon as possible, according to Mayor David Gillan. It is possible a special meeting could be called to deal with the topic in the next week or so.

Such a meeting could also include the issue of gathering size limits -- a topic also raised at Monday's meeting. Right now the city of Saskatoon is in the process of drafting a bylaw to restrict gathering sizes, but it is only at the discussion stage at North Battleford council at the moment.

Right now the City’s proof of vaccination requirements at facilities are in keeping with provincial requirements under the public health orders. 

According to the city’s website, proof of vaccination or negative Covid-19 test must be presented by people older than 12 years of age at the NationsWEST Field House and the Allen Sapp Gallery - The Gonor Collection. 

Proof of vaccination is also currently required at North Stars games at Access Communications Centre; it is also required at events at third-party-run facilities such as the Dekker Centre and at the Northland Power Curling Centre, where Twin Rivers Curling Club recently imposed its own proof-of-vax requirements.

Ironstand was particularly concerned about the situation at the Co-op Aquatic Centre, which does not have a proof-of-vax requirement. 

It was noted at the meeting that a complicating factor in imposing new restrictions there there is that many of those using the pool are young users, under age 12. 

Another issue is that youth leagues under 18 are exempt from providing proof of vaccination or negative test results under provincial rules, which has implications for city facilities as well. Proof of vaccination is not a requirement for minor hockey games, although Mayor Gillan noted minor hockey was bringing in its own rules. 

Also raised was the issue of crowds of spectators at the arenas. Councillor Kelli Hawtin expressed particular concern about the situation at the Don Ross Arena, which she noted was “quite full” when she was there. “I felt a little uncomfortable with the capacity there, so maybe that’s another thing we look at.”

A major issue to be decided is what to do about City Hall when it comes to double-vaccination requirements for those coming to the building.

As City Manager Randy Patrick explained, City Hall was almost an essential service similar to going to a supermarket. “It’s a service we provide,” he said. 

Also discussed at the meeting is the potential impact on City staff. Patrick noted that extending proof-of-vax requirements would require additional staff to monitor the doors at facilities. 

Ironstand made it clear he was on board with obtaining more staff and suggested perhaps getting the Community Safety Officers involved in spot-checks. 

“If we need to somehow find more manpower to do this, we have to,” said Ironstand, adding “this is not a joke —- people are dying.”