Nearly 400 additional City of Toronto workers have now become compliant with vaccine mandate, hundreds more on unpaid leaves

TORONTO — Nearly 400 additional City of Toronto employees have become fully vaccinated over the last week as the city continues to see an increase in the number of its workers who are choosing to get immunized when faced with the prospect of being placed on an unpaid leave and eventually terminated.

In a news release issued on Friday afternoon, the City of Toronto said that 97.3 per cent of its more than 32,000 active employees have now received at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including an additional 384 staff members who became fully vaccinated over the course of the last week.

The city says that it has now placed 541 staff members on unpaid leaves of absence, which is an increase of 26 from this time last week.

The city, however, says that 15 employees have since returned to work after becoming compliant with their vaccine mandate.

“It is encouraging to see that week after week we are seeing an increase in the number of employees becoming fully vaccinated. This is an important step in providing a safe workplace for our employees, and helping to protect our community,” City Manager Chris Murray said in the press release.

The city began meeting with employees who are either unvaccinated or who have refused to disclose their status earlier this month.

When it began those meetings nearly 1,300 employees were not compliant with its vaccine mandate.

But since then that number has been reduced to 880.

The city says that nearly 500 of those individuals are partially vaccinated and will now be given until Jan. 2 to become fully vaccinated following a change in the recommended dosing interval.

The city had previously said that it intended to terminate all non-compliant employees with cause as of Dec. 13.

So far, the service impacts arising from hundreds of employees being placed on leaves have been minimal, though the city did have to cancel more than 90 recreation programs due to staffing shortages last week.

It says that there are “no additional changes to recreational programs to report this week.”

“As the city continues the implementation of its vaccination policy, it does not anticipate impacts to critical and priority services,” the press release notes.

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