The cost of rapid antigen tests for the North Bay Police Service will be borne by the members themselves, come 2022.
David Woolley, corporate communications officer with the NBPS, tells BayToday members are covered for testing under the recently enacted workplace COVID-19 vaccination policy — for now.
"The North Bay Police Service received free rapid antigen test kits provided by the Government of Ontario through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, " he advises. "These free kits will be used until the new year, at which point members who are not fully vaccinated will be required to obtain rapid antigen test kits at their own expense."
Members who do not provide the required testing information will be placed on unpaid absence, the NBPS previously announced, although Woolley shares the policy has so far received 100 per cent compliance.
The policy covers all 160 sworn and civilian members of the North Bay Police Service, including all individuals working out of North Bay Police Service headquarters. The deadline for NBPS members to declare their COVID-19 vaccination status passed Monday.
Members who are not fully vaccinated are required to provide proof of negative COVID-19 rapid antigen tests. One test must be completed in the 24-hour period prior to beginning their work assignment. After beginning their shift, members who are not fully vaccinated are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test 72 hours after the initial negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test was submitted.
The NBPS has stated members who do not comply with the policy's terms will not be permitted to work and will not be paid.
Asked about the policy, the North Bay Police Association shared it is "glad to see the service implement a policy that allows all members to continue working through the option of vaccine, testing or medical exemption."