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Toronto police issue mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy, union 'does not support' it

Last Updated Aug 24, 2021 at 5:28 pm EDT

The Toronto Police Service (TPS) has announced it will require all staff, both uniform and civilian, to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

As a first step towards the policy, all members will have to disclose their vaccination status by September 13.

But there’s already push back from the union that represents officers. Jon Reid, President of The Toronto Police Association (TPA), released a statement on Tuesday objecting to the new policy.

“The TPA must make every effort to protect all of our members and therefore, does not support this mandatory vaccination announcement or mandatory disclosure. This announcement has our full attention and TPA will be working closely with other impacted parties, unions, and associations to explore our collective options.”

Reid said the policy was vague and lacking detail.

“We understand this is an initial announcement without any policy documentation, procedure, or routine order in place. This announcement, however preliminary, is missing critical details that are central to understanding the impacts, timelines, or potentially alternative options available to our members,” he added.

The policy follows the lead of the city of Toronto, TTC and many other public and private businesses which have announced mandatory policies in the last few weeks.

In a release from TPS, Chief James Ramer said, “The safety of our members, our workplaces and the public is of utmost importance to us. Our members will be required to be fully vaccinated to protect each other and the communities we serve.”

The force said it would maintain public health measures such as the use of masks and social distancing, among other precautions. According to its website, the police service employs more than 5,500 officers and more than 2,200 civilian staff.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen De Villa encouraged businesses to create their own mandatory COVID-19 policy.

Health care workers, teachers and public service employees in Ontario will also be required to get vaccinated or be subject to regular COVID-19 testing.

It will also be mandatory to provide proof-of-vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test at most arenas and stadiums in Toronto, including the Rogers Centre and Scotiabank Arena.

The city’s public health unit also published a resource guide for workplaces drafting their own policies and outlined minimum recommended standards. Those include requiring employees to show proof of vaccination or written proof from a doctor or nurse outlining a medical exemption.

The development of vaccine policies comes as Ontario’s daily COVID-19 infections have been trending upward and the province’s top doctor has warned that it will be a “difficult fall.”

The province says slightly more than 82 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 12 have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and just over 75 per cent have received two.