TTC and union gear up for vaccine battle in court

Injunction sought as arbitration hit a temporary speed-bump

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It is on track to remain a big fight.


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The battle over the Toronto Transit Commission’s vaccine policy heads to court as the transit workers’ union tries to get an injunction to slam the brakes on enforcement of the policy.

Arguments surrounding the injunction are expected Wednesday morning, according to the union.

“While ATU Local 113 supports COVID-19 vaccinations, we remain firm in our belief that getting vaccinated should be the personal choice of each worker. As a union, we have a duty to support our members and protect their rights,” said union president Carlos Santos.

“Instead of firing unvaccinated employees and cutting service, the TTC should offer sensible alternatives, such as regular testing for the small percentage of workers who wish not to receive the vaccine.”


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The union wants the policy halted while grievance arbitration runs its course.

But even that arbitration almost unraveled 10 days ago.

It was all due to an apparent conflict of interest involving the mediator chosen to hear the case.

The TTC disclosed that its Chief People Officer — and key point person of the vaccine policy — has a family and social relationship with the mediator Daniel Harris.

Mary Madigan-Lee has known Harris and his spouse since she was a child.

That apparent conflict is why the TTC itself pushed for Harris to recuse himself.

The union did not oppose Harris hearing the case.

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After hearing expedited arguments from both sides, Harris remained on the case.

“I am not persuaded that the instant circumstances give rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias,” he wrote in his ruling.


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“I have every confidence that the parties and I will work diligently to achieve expedition in this matter,” he continued. “Part of my role is to see that we do so.”

New dates to hear arbitration over the vaccine policy have not yet been scheduled.

  1. Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, which represents close to 12,000 TTC workers, is pushing back against the TTC's mandatory vaccination policy.

    TTC workers’ union calls for alternatives to vaccination

  2. Buses wait to go into service at the Comstock TTC yards.

    TTC rolling out service cuts as it faces vax-related staff shortage

The TTC has said it will place employees who have not disclosed their vaccination status on unpaid leave on Nov. 20 and terminate them on Dec. 31.

As of Oct. 15, about 85% of 15,061 active TTC employees had shared their vaccination status.

Eighty-nine per cent of them were fully vaccinated.


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