Toronto to place unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave from November

Affected employees could eventually be terminated

Toronto to place unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave from November

The City of Toronto has announced that they’ll be putting unvaccinated staff on six weeks unpaid leave starting November 1 if they fail to present proof that they’ve been fully immunised against COVID-19. According to the update, staff members on suspension may still return to work if they are able to present proof that they’ve received two doses of the jabs. However, if they’re still unable to show evidence of vaccination after their six-week leave, they can be terminated for failing to comply with the city's mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

The government will be giving leeway to workers who can provide vaccine proof by October 15, where they’ll be given until November 15 to get their second dose.

"This policy is focused on protecting the health and safety of all employees,” said Mayor John Tory. “We know vaccinations are the best way to protect ourselves and our community against the continued threat of COVID-19. I look forward to more staff joining their colleagues in becoming fully vaccinated in the coming weeks so that all of our workplaces are as safe as possible during the ongoing fourth wave and as our city reopens."

Read more: Toronto District School Board to require staff get vaccinated against COVID-19

According to the announcement, accommodations can still be made as long as employees are under one of the protected grounds set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code. The city government has launched various initiatives to encourage its workforce to get the jabs. This includes providing training modules, targeted education sessions, and vaccinations clinics at some work locations where vaccination rates are low. For the greater population, Toronto has deployed a Vaccine Clinic Bus to bring the vaccines closer to the public. The initiative was in partnership with the Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto Paramedic Services, and hospital and community partners.

Toronto's vaccine policy was first announced in August, requiring staff to disclose their status by September 17 and be partially vaccinated by September 30. The mandate also puts forward that the jabs are an employment requirement for new hires.  As of October 5, 26,138 members of the city government are fully immunised, equivalent to 89% of the staff who disclosed their vaccination status. Five per cent of them are partially vaccinated, while the remaining per cent have refused to reveal their status.

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