By Stephanie Swensrude
NAIT is joining eight other post-secondary institutions in Alberta to require proof of vaccination for all students, staff, contractors and visitors on NAIT campuses.
The mandate will go into effect on November 8, but that means that the second dose of a Health Canada-approved vaccine must be administered by October 24.
A press release on Monday morning stated that rapid testing will not be accepted as an alternative to vaccination, except for those who cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons or other grounds outlined in the Alberta Human Rights Act.
“NAIT will evaluate and accommodate staff, students, contractors, tenants and visitors who are unable to be vaccinated against COVID-19 either through medical or other exemption. Information on how to seek an accommodation will be provided as soon as possible,” said Nicole Graham in an email from NAIT’s media office when asked to clarify what grounds are legitimate.
“Some people may not want to be vaccinated because they do not believe in vaccines. However, not all beliefs are protected under the Act in Alberta. Only religious beliefs that are sincerely held and connected to a faith must be accommodated in the areas protected under the Act, such as employment, services, or tenancy,” reads a passage from the Alberta Office of Human Rights website.
A student who wishes to remain anonymous said that he might have to drop out of classes because his dad won’t allow him to get the vaccine.
“In the Charter of Rights and Freedoms it explains that we are not required to get a vaccine so [my dad] is obviously against that,” said the student.
“I’m guessing there will be some blowback from [the vaccine mandate] because obviously society wants you to get vaccinated and making the decision to not get vaccinated will obviously have its repercussions, which I understand,” he said.
An article from CBC on the legality of vaccine mandates said that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms only pertains to the government’s actions, not private institutions like NAIT.
Another student, also wanting to stay anonymous, thinks it is “infuriating” that eligible people aren’t getting vaccinated.