The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) revised its mandatory vaccination policy for employees on Friday, announcing that workers who remain unvaccinated – or who have not shared their proof of complete vaccination dosage – will be terminated ahead of the new year, on December 31st.
The TTC says employees who remain unvaccinated or have not shared their status by the end of the day on November 20th will be placed on unpaid absence until they complete their vaccination course.
“Safety is always our top concern. Our priority during the pandemic continues to be making sure everyone working at the TTC is kept as safe as possible,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary in a statement.
“I want to thank everyone who has gotten vaccinated and disclosed their status to us. This is an important step in putting the pandemic behind us and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to keep our family, friends and communities healthy.”
The newly revised measures do not apply to employees with an approved Ontario Human Rights Code accommodation or medical exemption. Leary says no decisions have been made yet on how these employees will be accommodated.
As of Friday, approximately 85 per cent of the TTC’s roughly 15,000 active employees have shared their COVID-19 vaccination status, with 89 per cent of them fully vaccinated and 11 per cent with one dose.
In total, 83 per cent of unionized employees and 93 per cent of non-unionized employees have shared their status.
Leary announced the TTC’s vaccination policy in early September, saying it will be mandatory for all employees to have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as of October 30th.
Leary’s comments follow a similar announcement made by the City in mid-August that mandated vaccinations for all Toronto municipal employees.
“Unfortunately, we have to take these steps,” the CEO said. “The TTC is an essential service, and we need it to be a safe place for everyone. We will be doing everything we can to uphold our core value of safety.”
In September, the TTC accused its largest union of employees of illegal strike action for opposing the transit agency’s vaccine disclosure mandate.
At the time, the transit commission said that only 56 per cent of their employees had disclosed their vaccination status. By comparison, Metrolinx says 94 per cent of staff have provided their vaccination status to the company.
Carlos Santos, President of ATU Local 113, said the last 18 months have often been “chilling” for TTC employees.