Toronto

Toronto Police Service announces mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for all members

The Toronto Police Service has instructed all of its members to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status by September 13, as part of its new mandatory vaccine policy. 

Toronto police previously exempt from earlier mandate for City of Toronto employees

Toronto police will require members to provide proof of vaccination status by Sept. 13 as a "first step" in its new policy. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press)

The Toronto Police Service has instructed all of its members — uniform and civilian — to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status by Sept. 13, as part of its new mandatory vaccine policy. 

The city's police force and the TTC were exempt from an announcement by Toronto Mayor John Tory on Aug. 19, which said all city of Toronto employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 30.

Tory said at the time this was a "matter of proper, respectful governance" to allow the two agencies to implement their policies within their own governance structures. 

However, the mayor said said he was hopeful that police and the TTC would "follow suit." 

Immediately following the mayor's 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. 

Toronto police, on the other hand, said they did not currently have a vaccination policy in place, but an announcement on this would be made soon.

On Tuesday morning, Toronto police announced the "first step" of that policy, which will require all members to "disclose and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status by September 13, 2021."

Shortly after, Tory took to Twitter to express his support.

"I welcome the Toronto Police mandatory vaccination policy announcement this morning and I want to thank Chief James Ramer for taking action," Tory said in a Tweet.

"I support doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of Toronto Police employees and all City of Toronto employees."

While it is now mandatory for police service members to be vaccinated, no date was given as to when that would need to take place by.

In a statement, the police said it would "implement the new mandatory requirement for all members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, subject to the Service's duty to accommodate members pursuant to the Human Rights Code."

"The safety of our members, our workplaces and the public is of utmost importance to us. Our members will be required to be fully vaccinated to protect each other and the communities we serve," Toronto police Chief James Ramer said.

Police association responds

The Toronto Police Association (TPA), however, said it does not support the mandatory vaccination announcement made by the Toronto Police Service.

In a statement released later on Tuesday, Jon Reid, president of the TPA, said the association recognizes that the announcement was made "without any policy documentation, procedure, or routine order in place."

"This announcement, however preliminary, is missing critical details that are central to understanding the impacts, timelines, or potentially alternative options available to our members," he said in the statement. 

"The TPA must make every effort to protect all of our members and therefore, does not support this mandatory vaccination announcement or mandatory disclosure."

Reid said the association will work with other unions and associations to explore options.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashleigh Stewart is an investigative journalist from New Zealand now living in Toronto, via stints in Dubai, Tokyo and Jakarta. She's particularly interested in stories about mental health, inequality and underrepresented communities. Outside of work, you'll find her on a ski field or a mountain trail. Follow her on Twitter @ash_stewart_ or email her on ashleigh.stewart@cbc.ca.

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