Toronto Star

City staff have time to reveal shot status

Deadline extended until Friday for workers to disclose their situation


City of Toronto employees now have until Friday to divulge their vaccinatio­n status to their employer, after being granted an extension from the original Monday deadline.

As of Monday, city spokespers­on Brad Ross told the Star, more than half the 37,000-plus workers had responded, with the vast majority saying they are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Others need extra time to respond because some of them don’t work in offices or have access to city email — “a primary way to communicat­e with staff,” about the requiremen­t, he said.

“Supervisor­s will be out this week reminding everyone of the need to complete the form,” Ross said in an email. “They can use a personal device. It’s simple and quick.”

Last month, Toronto announced vaccinatio­ns are mandatory for city staff, with limited exemptions for people who can prove health or human rights grounds.

Those who just don’t want a vaccine, or who haven’t responded by Friday, must attend mandatory education on the benefits of inoculatio­n against the virus.

City arm’s-length agencies including the TTC and the Toronto Police Service quickly followed suit with their own vaccine mandates.

Unvaccinat­ed city staff will be told to provide proof of first dose no later than Sept. 30 and proof of second dose by Oct. 30. Those who refuse to get vaccinated, or to provide proof, will face potential punishment for violating a city policy.

City officials won’t specify possible penalties, saying they hope they aren’t needed. But they have not ruled out suspending or firing unvaccinat­ed workers, citing the risk they could infect co-workers or members of the public with the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant.

Of the “more than half” of city workers who had responded by Monday, some 94 per cent “indicated they are fully vaccinated,” Ross said, adding that exact figures will be released later.

Dave Mitchell, president of CUPE Local 79 representi­ng about 20,000 city “inside workers,” said the vaccinatio­n requiremen­t was “announced with very short timelines, and so of course we are pleased that an extension has been provided.

“This extension will allow some of our members the chance to get their second vaccine doses or proper documentat­ion should they require an accommodat­ion,” Mitchell said in an email.

The unions for transit workers and Toronto police staff are objecting to vaccinatio­n requiremen­ts.

The Star reported last Friday that police officers had already been told they wouldn’t be punished for missing the Monday deadline.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, speaking at an unrelated news conference Monday morning, told reporters that extensions don’t mean the city is backing away from its commitment to a fully vaccinated workforce.

“We are firm on what our policy is, but we’re also anxious to keep the good partnershi­p with our employees that we’ve had all the way along,” Tory said.

“No options are off the table when it comes to people who absolutely refuse, after a period of time and education, to do the right thing and get vaccinated, absent a medical exemption.”

“We are firm on what our policy is, but we’re also anxious to keep the good partnershi­p with our employees that we’ve had all the way along.” JOHN TORY TORONTO MAYOR

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada