Majority of Canadians think unvaxxed health, education workers should be fired: Poll

Support for firing the unvaxxed is strongest in those who have been vaccinated

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Employees in key sectors — including health care and education — should be fired if they refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a majority of Canadians believe, according to a new poll.

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“A majority of Canadians believe airline employees, schoolteachers, first responders, medical professionals, restaurant employees, construction workers and people who work for small businesses should lose their job if they refuse to get vaccinated,” Angus Reid Institute said in a statement Monday. “In Quebec (65%) and Ontario (71%), support for dismissal of unwilling medical professionals is considerable, despite their provincial government’s respective decisions.”

The pollster’s findings arrived as many organizations grapple with this issue.

Some institutions such as individual hospitals and the Toronto Transit Commission put unvaccinated workers on leave or sent them packing.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government opted for provincially mandated vaccination for long-term care staff as a condition of attending work but did not extend that order to all frontline health-care workers.

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Of those who participated in Angus Reid’s poll, 71% favoured and 27% were against firing unvaccinated on-board airline employees, with 27% opposed.

The poll found 69% of Canadians were in favour of canning unvaccinated school teachers, police, paramedics, firefighters and medical professionals, with 28% opposed.

Canadians supported giving unvaxxed restaurant employees the pink slip, with 64% in favour and 32% against the action.

A smaller majority — 55% – backed the firing of unvaxxed trades people and construction workers, compared to 38% who were opposed, and 53% would let go people working for small local businesses who are not vaccinated, although a full 41% would not.

Angus Reid said support for giving unvaccinated workers the boot was strongest in Ontario, B.C., and Atlantic Canada, while Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec were less impressed with the idea.

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“Partisan loyalties appear to be another good indicator of support for dismissing unvaccinated employees. Those who voted Liberal in September’s federal election are most supportive, followed closely by past NDP voters and Bloc Qu(C)b(C)cois voters. CPC supporters are most divided, depending on profession canvassed,” the Angus Reid statement said.

Support for firing the unvaxxed is strongest in those who have been vaccinated.

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In Ontario, those polled who advocated for the axe included 71% for medical professionals, 72% for first responders, 74% for teachers, 68% for restaurant staff, 73% for on-board airline employees, 62% for trades and construction workers, and 56% for local small business employees.

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Ontario public health officials report 86% of the eligible population has received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, 3% has had one dose and 11% is unvaccinated.

Canadians are split on whether to prioritize booster shots to control COVID-19 in the country or ship off this vaccine supply to less wealthy nations, Angus Reid found.

The Angus Reid Institute’s online survey was done between Nov. 3-7 with 1,611 Canadian adults who are members of its forum, and a comparable poll would carry a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The poll results can be found on the Angus Reid website at angusreid.org/covid-firing-booster .

aartuso@postmedia.com

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