Premier Heather Stefanson said her government plans to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all those entering the Manitoba legislature by Dec. 15.

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Premier Heather Stefanson said her government plans to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all those entering the Manitoba legislature by Dec. 15.

"I want to make sure that we're moving forward to ensure that to come into the legislature you will have to be fully vaccinated," Stefanson told reporters in a scrum Monday.

"That will take some time," she said after a speech to the Association of Manitoba Municipalities at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg.

The premier had indicated Nov. 17 proof of vaccination may have been required to enter the legislature as soon as Tuesday's throne speech. On Monday, she explained why imposing a vaccine mandate can't happen sooner.

"There's a few government departments involved in that — central services, justice, our deputy premier and his department — they're working on that and working towards a deadline of Dec. 15," Stefanson said. "That means anyone coming to cabinet, is in-person at the legislature — everyone will have to be fully vaccinated."

Only two of 56 sitting MLAs — both Progressive Conservatives — have been reluctant to disclose their vaccination status.

Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler has refused to divulge his status or comment on what he plans to do when proof of vaccination is required to enter the building.

He did not attend Monday's question-and-answer session for cabinet ministers at the AMM convention, where proof of vaccination was required.

Stefanson said earlier she would be discussing the vaccine mandate individually with every member of her caucus but any questions about Schuler's vaccination status should be referred to him.

The premier said she has spoken to the other MLA, Janice Morley-Lecomte, who didn't publicly divulge her vaccination status until Sunday, after she was turned away from a restaurant for failing to provide a scannable QR code as proof of vaccination.

The Free Press reported Oct. 7 the member for Seine River told a closed legislative committee she is fully vaccinated, and she attended the Oct. 30 PC party leadership election event where proof of vaccination was required.

She didn't comment publicly until after it was reported she attempted to enter Oakwood restaurant in Winnipeg last week, saying she is an MLA and presenting a letter saying she is fully vaccinated rather than a QR code as proof. She was turned away.

The restaurant owner emailed the premier to express concern.

"She has downloaded the QR code now," Stefanson said Monday. "The issue has been resolved to my satisfaction."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.