Court denies union's request to block TTC vaccine mandate

·2 min read
The TTC announced in September that workers who are unvaccinated or who have not shared their vaccination status by Nov. 20 will be placed on unpaid leave until they get their shots. (John Sandeman/CBC - image credit)
The TTC announced in September that workers who are unvaccinated or who have not shared their vaccination status by Nov. 20 will be placed on unpaid leave until they get their shots. (John Sandeman/CBC - image credit)

The Ontario Superior Court on Saturday denied a request from the Toronto Transit Commission's largest union to block the transit agency from enforcing its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

ATU Local 113, which represents close to 12,000 TTC employees, sought an injunction after the agency announced in September that workers who are unvaccinated or who have not shared their vaccination status by Nov. 20 will be placed on unpaid leave until they get their shots. Those who don't comply by Dec. 31 will be fired, according to the policy.

The next phase of the vaccination policy will go into effect as planned tomorrow, Nov. 21, the TTC said in a statement following the decision.

Union 'disappointed' by decision

"We are very disappointed with the court's decision to deny our request to suspend operation of the TTC's mandatory vaccination policy," ATU Local 113 president Carlos Santos said in a statement.

"We believe the TTC's policy of suspending and terminating unvaccinated workers is unfair and will be struck down at arbitration. While I had hoped the court would put a stop to this policy while we fought in arbitration, I am confident we will ultimately prevail."

Santos said the fight isn't about vaccinations, but about "defending rights and saving jobs while still protecting public health."

He suggested the TTC implement regular testing of unvaccinated workers, rather than fire them.

90% of employees vaccinated: TTC

TTC CEO Rick Leary said ensuring the safety of employees and customers is the reason the TTC introduced the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy in September.

"From the moment an employee steps onto TTC property, it is our duty to do everything in our power to ensure their safety," Leary said in a statement.

As of today, roughly 90 per cent of the agency's 15,061 active employees have shared their COVID-19 vaccination status, according to figures provided by the TTC.

The TTC said it has held 61 vaccination clinics for employees and customers to date, and almost 9,500 shots have been administered at these clinics.

"I want to thank all the employees who have complied with the policy and I want to thank all our customers for their support. Together we will get through this," Leary said.

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