Today, the City of Toronto provided an update on its COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.
The deadline for City employees to be compliant with the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy was midnight on January 2. At that time, approximately 98.6 per cent of the active workforce reported being fully vaccinated, which represents approximately 32,478 active employees across all City divisions.
With the rise of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, ensuring all City employees are fully vaccinated is more important than ever to provide a safe workplace and support the ongoing and safe delivery of services, especially critical and essential services, to the public.
The City’s vaccination policy was introduced in August 2021 and has been gradually implemented over the last five months. The January 2 deadline for City employees to be compliant with the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy was extended from last year in order to provide employees additional time to become educated and obtain a vaccine as well as to allow greater time between first and second doses. As of the deadline, a total of 461 employees had either not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or had not reported their vaccination status and have had their employment with the City of Toronto terminated. These employees had been suspended without pay and not scheduled to work and, therefore, not factored into current staffing levels.
Additionally, there are 37 employees currently on temporary leave awaiting a decision on their accommodation requests and 248 employees who have reported receiving one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Starting this week, those 248 employees with one dose will have a vaccination status meeting with their manager and, if applicable, their union representative. If at that meeting the employee is found to still not have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, employment could be terminated that day. Consideration will be given to employees who have an appointment booked for their second dose.
The City has taken a leadership role in making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for its workforce and is meeting its obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every precaution reasonable to protect employees from workplace hazards, including COVID-19.
Since the introduction of the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, the City has offered various supports to staff including education opportunities, paid time off to get vaccinated and some workplace vaccination clinics. City divisions have been monitoring compliance and planning for the possible reduction of staff as a result of noncompliance. The employees who have had their employment terminated have been on an unpaid suspension for a number of weeks in advance of this termination notice and contingency plans are in place to ensure service continuity.
The City’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy is one component of its COVID-19 workplace safety plan that also includes daily symptom screening, physical distancing, increased masking protocols, PPE, rapid antigen testing for high risk settings and critical services, regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces and hand hygiene.
The City continues to comply with its human rights obligations. Staff who are not able to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine under a protected ground set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code, will be entitled to accommodation.
Visit the City’s website to read the Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.
“I am extremely proud of the Toronto Public Service for demonstrating their leadership once again and responding to the call to get vaccinated. Our employees know their community counts on them to do all they can to stay safe and deliver the services the public relies on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases across the city, driven by the Omicron variant, it is good to know the City’s employees are doing all they can to protect each other and the people of Toronto.”
– Chris Murray, City Manager
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.