Toronto suspends 248 city employees over failing to show proof of vaccination

Politicians had called for stronger steps against non-immunized school children, after measles outbreak in Toronto schools

While nearly 200 schoolchildren across Toronto are being vaccinated following a measles outbreak last year that sickened 10 people, 248 city employees have been suspended without pay for failing to show proof of vaccination.

There have been four local cases of measles since the outbreak started, while in Ottawa and the United States there have been many more.

Canada shutdowns schools for ‘unvaccinated’ kids as measles outbreak continues Read more

Toronto’s school board chief advised to stand by religonize his most active workers would remain at home to protect them as the length of suspensions increase.

“[The non-vaccinated] are normally outside doing important work,” Chris Spence said at a press conference.

Politicians had called for stronger measures against non-immunized school children, after a measles outbreak in Toronto schools in 2018 sickened 10 people. Toronto Public Schools have stopped allowing children not immunized against the measles at aged two or three to attend full-time.

However, 31 staffers at the city’s Water Services Department, Water Treatment Plant, Water Maintenance Department, Water Conservation Services Department, Municipal Utilities Maintenance Department, Municipal Water Treatment Department, and Water Distribution Board have been suspended without pay, or with part time absences since the fall of 2018, due to their failure to provide proof of vaccination, although it is unclear when that began or if they had previously failed to provide the required paperwork.

Of the 248 suspended city employees, 129 have worked at city services for fewer than five years and 61 have worked for the city for more than 10 years.

The primary difference between the working age case and those working for city services is that, according to Toronto’s chief medical officer of health, Karen Stintz, “employees at school-aged children have already been required to provide proof of their immunization.”

“In this non-school age case,” she explained in an email, “employees who have not been providing proof of vaccinations are now prohibited from performing city services.”

A spokesperson for Water Services confirmed that 96 of the suspended employees do not have children in the city schools. “The majority of suspended staff members are adults and do not have children in the school system. A five-year employee has a child in their school,” the spokesperson said in an email.

The city’s solicitor told CBC that workers have been suspended for not wanting to share their personal information with the government, for failing to bring vaccinations paperwork to work, for not providing proof of vaccination as required, or for claiming all their sick leave.

In a letter sent to employees, the city stated: “It is important that your continued participation in the City’s City and Regional/Workplace health programs is supported by the City and that you are given adequate time and leave to complete those programs. You are also requested to ensure that City officers have access to all of your City paperwork, including your vaccination records, when required.”

As of this weekend, none of the workers had been arraigned in court, according to the City of Toronto’s Solicitor.

Spence also clarified that all childcare and after-school services were running normally.

In March 2018, Toronto Public Schools had on average 2,093 children enrolled, 838 of whom had been registered to attend full-time, bringing their total percentage-free enrolment to 1.55%, up from .40% on 6 April 2018.

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