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City of Toronto fires nearly 500 unvaccinated employees

The City of Toronto’s vaccine mandate went into effect on just the second day of the new year at midnight as all staff were expected to comply with the vaccination policy. Instead, nearly 500 employees of the city have lost their jobs over the refusal to comply.

Those who opted to remain unvaccinated only account for a small portion of the city’s workforce. While 98.6 percent of the employees complied, which amounted to 32.478 workers, 461 decided against getting the shot.

The January 2 deadline had already been extended to provide employees more time to become informed of their choices and get a vaccine as well as allow more time between the first and second doses. 

The policy was first introduced in the city in August of 2021 and has gradually been instituted over the last five months. But by the time the deadline was reached, 461 employees in total had either not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or had not reported their vaccination status to the higherups.

Their employment with the City of Toronto was terminated after several weeks of unpaid leave as a result. So far, 248 employees have reported receiving only one dose, which means their employment is still at risk if they have not yet gotten the second dose. 

Still, there are 37 city employees on temporary leave while they wait for a decision on accommodation requests they have made on human rights grounds.

The city says it is meeting its obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every reasonable action and precaution to protect employees from workplace hazards. Under that definition, they have included the coronavirus as a workplace hazard. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE STAR

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