KITCHENER -- Staff working for the Region of Waterloo will need to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status before the end of this month.

In a news release on Monday morning, regional officials said the disclosure must be made by Sept. 27. Anyone who isn't vaccinated or chooses not to share their vaccination status will need to undergo education on the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination and take part in a rapid antigen testing program.

“Regional council cares deeply about the health and safety of our staff, clients and residents,” Chair Karen Redman said in a news release. “A vaccine is the best defence against COVID-19 and the Delta variant and we’ve seen high uptake of the vaccine across Waterloo Region. Thanks to walk-in access across multiple locations, it has never been easier to receive a vaccine.”

The policy also includes volunteers and students working with the region. Officials said the goal of the policy is to protect staff members and the community from the spread of the disease.

“Our staff are the greatest asset we have at the region and we value the critical work each and every employee carries out on a daily basis as we serve this community,” Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Lauckner said. “This policy puts the health and wellbeing of staff first. As we continue to move through a fourth wave of COVID-19 in Waterloo Region, we want to ensure our employees can continue to serve this community safely and effectively.”

The region has also implemented a number of other safety protocols at its locations, including Plexiglas barriers, hand sanitizing stations, mask protocols and daily self-screening for all staff members.

Officials with Kitchener and Cambridge said they're working on an employee vaccination policy, and City of Waterloo officials are reviewing the policy released by the region on Monday.