Toronto raises concern about vaccination refusal

The City of Toronto is refusing to provide its employees with proof of vaccinations.

“It’s very difficult for a leader to explain why they are not able to provide documentation in the place we’d like to provide it,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said.

Tory took issue with concerns that the city was choosing not to offer vaccinations to be part of the Shot@Life program, which is administered by the Public Health Agency of Canada and funded by the federal government.

On February 22, the city announced it would not take part in the program, and 192 city employees were put on leave until they received documentation. The employees were the ones who responded that they didn’t want to be vaccinated and gave false information to get immunizations, Tory said.

That means the city won’t be collecting any revenues from unused time off.

Tory says none of these employees were in high-risk organizations, he added.

The city has hired a top attorney to examine the legality of the suspension.

The lack of evidence was never considered a bad thing, Tory said.

“But we’re also not going to have people working in high-risk environments that we do not want them working in, working in high-risk circumstances,” he said.

The City of Toronto is the fifth Toronto entity to suspend employees because of the vaccination issue. Toronto Public Health, the International Olympic Committee, Toronto Hydro and Toronto Community Housing have suspended employees because of their non-compliance with shots for measles, mumps and rubella.

Toronto Community Housing is following the city’s lead, and are continuing to suspend employees until their documentation is received.

“The impact is certainly huge, but on the other hand I think it’s not a surprise to anyone,” Tory said.

Former Toronto Health Officer Vivek Sharma told CNN affiliate CTV that the city is making a difference, showing others that non-compliance is unacceptable.

“You’ll see a change in the behavior of individuals with flu and measles vaccinations,” Sharma said.

The city’s decision to suspend employees was made last Thursday but was made public last Thursday.

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