The Toronto Transit Commission may bring back recently retired employees to fill gaps in the event that its mandatory vaccination policy leads to a shortage of workers.
By Oct. 30, all TTC employees, including trainees and contractors who work for the transit agency, must have two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. All employees were required to disclose their vaccination status to management by Oct. 6.
TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said in an email on Tuesday the transit agency is drawing up plans in case the policy causes staffing problems.
The TTC began making calls to recent retirees and pensioners on the weekend to gauge their interest in coming back in case the transit agency needs them, he said.
"We are looking at and planning for a number of options to ensure we can continue to deliver service beyond October 30. This is one of the contingencies we are exploring," Stuart said in the email.
"Obviously, our hope is that this will not be necessary, but we have to plan just in case," Green added.
"Our contingency plans will be structured in such a way that we can continue to deliver transit service should we face any workforce issues after Oct. 30. But at this point we simply don't know if that will be an issue at all."
As of Tuesday, the TTC said 85 per cent of employees have disclosed their vaccination status. Of that percentage, slightly more than 90 per cent are fully vaccinated, while the remainder have had one dose.
"We need a few more days to get the final submissions input and then we'll have a better idea of what the numbers are and what plans we need to make," Green said.
Green added that the TTC has not yet decided what will happen to those employees who remain unvaccinated after Oct. 30. Some employees may opt to retire early or quit because they don't want to get vaccinated and any labour shortages may not be the result of discipline, he said.
"People may leave," he said.