Majority of City of Toronto staff now vaccinated, holdouts to be suspended next month

·2 min read
The City of Toronto has announced more details about its COVID-19 vaccine regulations for staff. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
The City of Toronto has announced more details about its COVID-19 vaccine regulations for staff. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

One of the city's largest unions says it has filed a grievance after the City of Toronto announced workers who can't prove they've been vacccinated against COVID-19 by November will be suspended without pay.

If the workers don't get vaccinated during that suspension, the city says they'll be fired.

The vast majority of Toronto city workers have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19, the city announced in a news release Wednesday.

According to the news release, as of Oct. 5: 26,138 city staffers are fully immunized, which is 89 per cent of those who disclosed their vaccination status. A further five per cent of those who disclosed their status are partially immunized, and two per cent chose to not disclose.

City policies dictated staff had until Sept. 17 to disclose their vaccination status and be at least partially immunized by Sept. 30.

Now, starting the week of Nov. 1, staff who don't provide proof of vaccination will be suspended for six weeks without pay — though people can return to work if they provide proof of having received both doses.

Should staffers still not provide proof of vaccination by Dec. 13, they will be fired, the city says.

On Thursday, CUPE 416, which represents thousands of outside workers, said in a notice to members it has filed a policy grievance against the city's plans.

The union alleges the way the city's vaccination policy is being applied "is unreasonable and violates provisions of the collective agreement."

The city says while the number of unvaccinated staff is low, divisions have already started plans to mitigate any service or staffing impacts.

Meanwhile Mayor John Tory said vaccines remain the best way to protect other city workers and the broader community.

"The vast majority of City of Toronto staff are fully vaccinated. This policy is focused on protecting the health and safety of all employees," Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

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