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Alberta’s largest and most northern county says it is no longer working with local businesses that have a mandatory vaccination policy.

Mackenzie County says businesses that require employees, contractors or subcontractors to show proof of vaccination in workplaces or on work sites will not be hired to provide goods or services.

“Mackenzie County does not tolerate mandatory vaccination or any other discriminatory requirements for any employee,” a document outlining the latest policy says.

The county’s council approved the policy on Feb. 16.

A spokesman for the county says in a letter that vaccine mandates violate personal rights and freedoms and will not be tolerated.

“Mackenzie County is appalled by the response to COVID-19 that many governments and corporations have evoked,” said Byron Peters, the county’s interim chief administrative officer.

“Corporate use of coercion and intimidation towards employees to dictate personal health choices are inappropriate, and we will not work with companies that tolerate or promote such behaviour.”

Provincial data show the county has the lowest vaccination rate in Alberta. A little more than 38 per cent of its roughly 9,500 residents have had their first COVID-19 shot and just over 32 per cent have had a second.

Mr. Peters says in the letter that the county will be honouring existing contracts it has with businesses, including ones that have a vaccine mandate, for the time being.

“However, your employees will not be permitted to enter Mackenzie County premises or job sites,” he adds.

Mr. Peters says all companies with a vaccination policy that are employed by the county need to work remotely or make arrangements to hire a subcontractor that does not have a similar policy.

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