Toronto police lifts mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for officers

By Lucas Casaletto

Toronto police have retracted its mandatory vaccination policy for uniformed and civilian officers, allowing members of the force on unpaid leave to return to work in just under three weeks.

Const. Alex Li tells CityNews that the Toronto Police Service (TPS) continues to ensure that its workplaces are safe, allowing for continued COVID-19 measures when appropriate.

“The service’s decision to rescind its COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Requirement was made in response to the current public health and occupational health context of the pandemic and the unique nature of its work and workplaces,” Li said in a statement.

“Members currently on an unpaid absence will return to duty on June 21, 2022. Officers will be deployed as operationally required by the Service, and civilian members will return to their original roles.”

RELATED: Toronto Police place more than 200 members on unpaid leave over vaccine mandate

Approximately 99 per cent of Toronto police officers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while new hires must be fully vaccinated, Li says.

TPS initially announced its mandatory vaccination policy in late August — a move its union president strongly objected. The police force said it would maintain its current public health measures, such as masks and social distancing, among other precautions.

In November, the TPS said that 98 per cent of approximately 7,400 members had disclosed their vaccination status. At the time, 98 per cent of those were fully vaccinated.

Approximately 205 unvaccinated employees, or those with an unknown status, were placed on an unpaid absence. The TPS says 117 were uniformed members, and the other 88 were civilian members.

In March, Ontario ended most of its primary COVID-19 public health measures, including the vaccine passport requirement for various businesses and establishments, including restaurants and gyms.

Ontario police services that enforced mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies stuck with the requirement despite the province’s decision. Ottawa police put fewer than 10 unvaccinated officers and fewer than 10 unvaccinated civilian employees on unpaid leave on February 1.

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