In February 2021, Councillor Clark moved a motion directing staff to explore options for a virtual memorial wall to celebrate the lives of Hamiltonians who lost their lives to COVID-19. The motion was supported unanimously by Council.
In April, 2021, staff reported back to council with concerns being raised about potential privacy breeches and /or possible identity thefts. Clark suggested that staff require express permission or a release from the family, thereby mitigating any privacy concerns. Clark moved a deferral to permit him an opportunity to meet with staff to further clarify his vision and expectations.
In May 2021, staff reported back to the General Issues Committee that the privacy concerns were resolved as the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection Act allows the disclosure of personal information that is collected for the purpose of creating an historical record for the public. Staff shared a virtual memorial wall template and indicated that the wall could be activated immediately.
Clark acknowledged and was grateful for the efforts of staff to bring this idea to life. He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented families and friends from gathering to celebrate the lives of their loved ones. He hoped that the wall would serve as a way not only to remember COVID-19 victims but to educate others.
Clark said, “We have lost 375 residents to COVID-19. Sadly each death is being treated as a number or statistic, but each one of them is a life with a family that has been denied their opportunity to gather and celebrate their lives.”