Fault lines appear after Toronto Police announce vaccine policy
Toronto's latest "will they or won't they" drama revolves around the city's police service and its ongoing vaccination controversy.
After taking heat for dragging its heels on announcing a vaccination policy, the police finally introduced a mandatory vaccine requirement for all of its members on Tuesday, extending to both uniformed and civilian employees.
The mandate states that "all TPS members will be required to disclose and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status by September 13, 2021."
Fault lines immediately appeared between the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and the Toronto Police Association (TPA), the latter organization representing approximately 8,000 police staff.
Just hours after the TPS issued its statement on the new policy, TPA President Jon Reid fired back with his own statement revealing that the organization would not support the TPS mandate.
"The TPA must make every effort to protect all of our members and therefore, does not support this mandatory vaccination announcement or mandatory disclosure," the statement reads.
Reactions to the TPA's contradictory statement have been strong, to say the least.
As the Toronto Police Association came out today against a vaccine mandate for their members, we may need to re-appraise the motto "to protect and serve": to protect nobody in order to serve an anti-vax minority.— Colin Furness (@FurnessColin) August 25, 2021
I hope most police officers are appalled and will choose safety.
Two very different statements from seemingly allied organizations have some wondering where police officers themselves stand on the issue of vaccination, including a few accusations of anti-vaxxer views emerging on social media.
So a person insists on entering a restaurant and won't show proof of vax.— zarathirstra (@Siddhartha1944) August 24, 2021
What is the rest. employee supposed to do?
Fight with him?
In Toronto the police will not enforce these rules.
They are on the side of the anti-vax. pic.twitter.com/KWImrSkFB6
Though there are many instances of police breaking up gatherings and enforcing public health policies, some are not entirely convinced of cops' commitment to the cause.
Recent events could be used to bolster arguments alleging that the TPS has a problem with anti-vaxxers among its ranks.
Perceived police inaction during the regular anti-lockdown rallies/possible superspreader events has garnered criticism, most recently recorded standing idly by while aggressive protesters disrupted patio patrons.
To bad @TorontoPolice @TPS14Div and @jamesramertps don't do this. Based on the Bar Vendetta incidents it seems like they WANT both customers and buisness to suffer so those anti-vax wankers can feel like they can get away with anything! https://t.co/BH8n3Wt5Ex— Matthew Fahey (@MatthewFahey15) August 23, 2021
Furthermore, the wording of the TPS statement announcing the vaccination policy leaves questions as to how unvaccinated members of the force will be handled.
The statement claims the TPS "will 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," phrasing that could be seen as open-ended.
Weighing in on the issue, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) released their own statement today, putting pressure on all police personnel across the province to get vaccinated:
"Earlier this year, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) advocated with the Government of Ontario for priority access to COVID-19 vaccinations for Ontario's police personnel. As Ontario's police leaders, OACP members believe that the health and safety of all our personnel must be the overriding priority when it comes to questions related to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. To that end, we continue to strongly encourage all personnel to be vaccinated unless they have a valid medical reason to not be fully vaccinated," the statement reads.
Much is still up in the air, but it appears the Toronto Police may soon be joining the long list of employers who stand with mainstream science over the tangled web of pseudoscience that fuels anti-vax beliefs.
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