Transit in Toronto is about to face "temporary service changes" as TTC employees are still refusing to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
As of Nov. 21, the TTC's mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy comes into effect. Employees who are not vaccinated or have not shared their vaccination status by the end of the day on Nov. 20 will be placed on unpaid leave until they they are fully vaccinated or Dec. 31, whichever comes first, and can be terminated from their position after that date.
"The Nov. 21 schedules were planned to be reliable and predictable while protecting existing service on the TTC's busiest bus routes corridors at the busiest times of day such as Wilson, Jane, Eglinton, Finch and Lawrence East, among others," information from TTC reads. "Other routes will see varying levels of temporary service changes, in many cases similar to the seasonal changes made in the summer and in December."
"Scheduled waiting time changes will generally be minimal, and all changes will result in ridership levels that are within TTC service standards."
Currently, 88 per cent of the TTC's 15,090 active employees have shared their COVID-19 vaccination status. About 86 per cent of unionized and 94 per cent of non-unionized employees have shared their status with "the vast majority" fully vaccinated.
"Our plans for November and December ensure we can continue to do that - even with a reduction in available workforce," a statement from TTC CEO Rick Leary reads. "Protecting service for those who need us most and delivering the service that our customers expect of us is my priority."
"Unfortunately, it does come with some small and temporary reductions in scheduled service compared to October. However, we are moving quickly to hire operators and backfill job openings, and we will begin returning service to budgeted levels as soon as possible."
TTC ridership is currently at about 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.