‘We can’t live here any more’: Toronto workers suspended after failing 2 school vaccinations

The city of Toronto has yet to implement the country’s first mandatory childhood vaccination policy, in response to measles’ explosive outbreaks across the province, but as of Monday, 1,300 city employees faced suspensions and…

‘We can’t live here any more’: Toronto workers suspended after failing 2 school vaccinations

The city of Toronto has yet to implement the country’s first mandatory childhood vaccination policy, in response to measles’ explosive outbreaks across the province, but as of Monday, 1,300 city employees faced suspensions and demotions due to not having proof of vaccinations, reports CBC News.

Public Health Canada issued a public health alert in December regarding the lack of mandatory vaccine coverage in the province, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. As a result, an unprecedented number of cases of measles have been reported in Toronto.

According to the Public Health website, a measles vaccine requires two doses; the first is typically given when a child is 9 months old and the second is given between 12 and 15 months. As of Monday, just over 1,300 city employees — the vast majority of them health care workers — had either failing grades in the two standard school vaccinations, nor were they currently on a five-year contract for immunization. On Monday, 69 suspended workers were not on board a contract and remained ineligible for an exemption, while 250 were suspended over failing grades, but could be eligible for reconsideration.

According to the report, only over 100 workers received their vaccines late, meaning that 2,100 remain ineligible for exemptions to the vaccination mandate. Under the policy, those employees must either take 10 days off without pay, or an alternative course of action must be offered to the one who opted out.

In addition to public health nurses, physicians, researchers and auditors, city administration employees and staff in engineering, engineering, administrative, transportation, parks and recreation and human resources were affected by the policy. Additionally, 338 programs affected by the policy were not able to renew their staff contracts for exemption, while 397 had to cut their budgets or incur inefficiencies. In total, 1,092 workers were affected by the mandate.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Ontario, Quebec and B.C. do not have to get a vaccine, allowing them to choose to have unvaccinated children in their care or at a daycare or school. They are also afforded the right to sue their employer if a vaccinated child contracted an outbreak of a disease, including measles, which can pose serious health threats. The policy which was implemented by the Liberal government is quickly gaining traction in Alberta’s provincial government, after the newly formed Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and the Centre-Right Alliance Party of Alberta, a group formed by former Progressive Conservative U.S. presidential hopeful and Alberta MP Maxime Bernier, also announced their support for the mandate.

Read the full story at CBC News.

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