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More than 30 firefighters leave Columbia Shuswap fire departments due to vaccine mandate

Regional district says all fire departments remain operationally ready to handle all calls
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off Deep Creek Road in February 2021. (File photo)

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has lost more than 30 firefighters as a result of its vaccine mandate.

“We’ve had some resign, as well as some volunteers that weren’t coming to training or calls anyway and just made it official,” wrote CSRD communications coordinator Tracy Hughes in a Jan. 21 email. “We are still working with numbers of 36 but it is subject to change as some (not many) have elected to get their vaccine.”

Hughes said all fire departments in the regional district remain operationally ready to handle all calls. She added the CSRD is enhancing its usual recruiting efforts with a targeted recruitment campaign that’s already begun.

At a Nov. 18, 2021 board meeting, the CSRD’s board of directors unanimously passed a vaccine mandate for the majority of those working under its jurisdiction, including paid on-call (volunteer) firefighters.

Firefighters were required to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 3, 2022 in order to continue to serve.

Read more: Two Shuswap fire chiefs take unpaid leave of absence in response to CSRD vaccine mandate

Read more: Firefighter, parent, want reconsideration to vaccine mandate for Shuswap fire halls

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