Editor’s Note: The deadline for requiring proof of vaccination was originally set for Sept. 13, however, it was extended to Sept. 17.
The City of Toronto is mandating that all city workers or employees get both COVID-19 vaccine doses, with an exception for those who are “legally entitled to accommodation.”
The policy will come into effect by Oct. 30, officials said.
“Effective Oct. 30 it will be mandatory for all City of Toronto employees to have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. This gives people the required time to get the two doses,” Mayor John Tory said in an announcement on Thursday.
Originally, all city staff, approximately 37,660 employees, will be required to disclose proof of full vaccination by Sept. 13. However, the deadline was extended to Sept. 17.
Officials said staff who have not been vaccinated or who do not disclose their vaccination status by the deadline will be required to attend a mandatory education session. Unvaccinated people will need to give proof of a first shot by Sept. 30, officials added.
City officials said it will comply with its human rights obligations and accommodate employees who are legally entitled to accommodation.
Regular COVID-19 testing will not be part of the policy. City officials said the focus is on mandatory vaccination.
Tory said that the city is committed to mitigating the fourth wave, which is currently being driven by the Delta variant and amid primarily the unvaccinated population.
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“The city, as an employer, has an obligation under Ontario law to take all necessary precautions to protect its workers,” officials said. “As the largest employer in Toronto, the city is also taking a leadership role in making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for its workforce.”
Global News reached out to Toronto’s city councillors, and all 25 of them responded that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Shortly after the City of Toronto made its announcement, the TTC also said it was following the initiative and mandated all TTC employees, contractors and students be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 13. However, the deadline as extended to Sept. 20. Exceptions will be made for those with medical exemptions who cannot get a shot.
Earlier this week, the Ontario government said it will be requiring anyone in all high-risk settings across the province either to be vaccinated or to complete regular testing as part of a vaccine policy mandate, the latter which is not included in the City of Toronto’s policy.
The province said high-risk settings include any workers at hospitals, home and community care service providers, paramedic services, post-secondary institutions, retirement homes, women’s shelters, group homes and licensed home daycares. Vaccine policies mandated by the province must be in place by Sept. 7.
A Toronto hospital network, University Health Network, is considering placing staff who do not wish to get vaccinated on unpaid leave, with exemptions for those with a medical reason for not being able to receive a vaccine.
MLSE, which owns Scotiabank Arena and BMO Field, has said patrons and staff will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result in order to access any of its properties by mid-September. Live Nation Canada also said it will implement the same policy for its concerts.
As of Thursday, 81.7 per cent of the eligible population in Toronto aged 12 and older have received one dose, with 74.3 per cent of the same population have had both shots.
— with files from Nick Westoll