Toronto to phase in new health services mandate on vaccine compliance

The city is expected to phase in the new, expanded rules for vaccine compliance starting in April. It includes a fine of $200 a day, until annual vaccination coverage hits 95%. Toronto city staff…

Toronto to phase in new health services mandate on vaccine compliance

The city is expected to phase in the new, expanded rules for vaccine compliance starting in April. It includes a fine of $200 a day, until annual vaccination coverage hits 95%.

Toronto city staff say fewer than 1,300 staff members have refused to comply with the city’s new mandate that residents must be vaccinated to receive a birth certificate or other government document.

The city has more than 21,000 employees.

After a delay of more than a year, the city began the rollout of legislation on Tuesday requiring all city employees, city contractors and anyone who has an Ontario Public Service work contract, to be vaccinated against chickenpox, meningitis, hepatitis B, shingles and whooping cough.

It also requires that health care workers be vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

Previously, the city had only required public servants, as well as restaurant owners and taxi drivers, to be vaccinated if it allowed a new hire or was necessary for safety reasons. It did not require non-health care workers to be vaccinated.

The city came under fire last year after it came to light that its mandatory program was having a significant impact on thousands of public servants, including hospital and public service workers, who were non-compliant.

Mayor John Tory told reporters on Tuesday he had been assured that the number of non-compliant health-care workers has been “disappointingly low.”

Tory said the plan’s first two phases, involving health care and taxi drivers, have seen “super-compliant” compliance numbers.

“I don’t want to sound overburdened here,” he said, “but it’s less than one percentage point.”

He said during the second phase, currently on the books but not actually triggered, which includes non-compliance penalties, the city expects to see more non-compliant health-care and taxi workers “pulling their weight” and getting vaccinated.

“We’re getting better and better at monitoring these sorts of things,” he said.

The city has offered to vet new hires for vaccinations and start the mandatory policy the same day a person is hired.

The Toronto chamber of commerce also came out in support of the legislation on Tuesday, saying the no-vaccination policy does not protect a worker’s health or safety.

The city’s amended bill bans non-compliance in all areas in which a service is provided to the public, including schools, daycares, restaurants, public swimming pools, recreation centres, community centres, shelters, libraries, streets, sidewalks and bus stops.

The bill would impose a $100 fine for the first time for a failure to comply with vaccinations. Any failure to comply would result in a violation of the Employer’s Health and Safety Code, which carries a fine of $200 a day.

The bill mandates that $25 of the fine be directed to the person’s employer, although the employer is not obligated to hand over that money to the municipality.

Bill 13 initially included the mandatory vaccination policy, which forced businesses to write it down on their workers’ contracts. That prompted accusations that the policy was done to hold down wages by forcing businesses to write it down.

Tory agreed to only require health care workers to be vaccinated.

The province will not be enforcing vaccination compliance, although Tory said the city does have the right to issue violations and offer to mediate a consent agreement.

Leave a Comment