Toronto Mayor John Tory has announced that City of Toronto employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 30.
During a press conference on Thursday morning, Tory said Toronto had made “tremendous progress fighting the pandemic,” but the delta variant “seriously threatens that progress.”
While he said he had “no doubt that the vast majority” of city employees were already vaccinated, he said a vaccination policy was necessary.
Employees would now be required to disclose their vaccination status by Sept. 13.
Unvaccinated employees will receive education sessions on the “benefits of getting vaccinated,” Tory said.
They will then need to provide proof of their first dose of the vaccine by Sept. 30. All employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 30, he said.
The city is not ruling out mandating regular COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees before the Oct. 30 deadline, but this was “not a priority,” Tory said.
Toronto police exempt from current policy
However, there will be exemptions to the new regulations — it currently does not apply to TTC and Toronto police employees.
Tory said this was a “matter of proper, respectful governance.”
“We’ve been in touch with those agencies and the heads of those agencies and indicated our strong wish and our strong desire to see them have a policy that follows through with that employed by the City of Toronto.
“But they have their own governance structure and separate boards and we want to be respectful of that in making sure that decisions are taken in the way they normally would be by those organizations,” Tory said.
The mayor said said he was hopeful police and the TTC would “follow suit.”
Immediately following the press conference, TTC chief executive Richard Leary released a statement saying that as of Sept. 13, the company would be requiring all employees, students and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
It is unclear if the TTC will follow the same timeline and adopt the city’s Oct. 30 deadline.
Leary said the policy and other operational details were “currently being finalized and will be available by the end of August.”
Tory said he expects full compliance with the policy from city employees, but would not specify any consequences for an employee who refused to get vaccinated by the deadline.
“There is a broader, collective responsibility here,” he said.
“Our principal objective is to serve the public. We can only do that if we have a safe, healthy workplace.”