toronto police vaccine

Toronto Police finally introduce mandatory vaccine policy following public outcry

Just when it was looking like local cops might actually get to keep their jobs after refusing to be vaccinated, the Toronto Police Service has announced that it will indeed be "implementing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all members, both uniform and civilian."

Better late than never, I suppose.

Members of the public have been calling for such a move since last week, when the City of Toronto put forward its own vaccine policy for municipal employees, sparking a wave of similar announcements from other public agencies and private companies.

The TTC was quick to hand down a mandate to all of its workers, while hospitals and schools had already been told by the province that they needed to have vaccine policies in place.

Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, strongly recommended on Friday that all local employers follow suit to protect against outbreaks of COVID-19 and "build confidence for a safer return to work."

Conspicuously absent from the rush to publicize any sort of vaccine policy on Thursday, however, was the Toronto Police Service — and the force's apparent lack of commitment to innoculations alarmed some local residents.

"The case for mandatory vaccinations for police officers is air tight, because people often don't have a choice in whether they will have an interaction with police," wrote journalist Matt Elliott in a Toronto Star opinion piece published Tuesday morning called "If Toronto police really want to 'serve and protect' during COVID-19, they should be fully vaccinated — or be fired."

"The least the police can do is give people in those circumstances assurance that they have taken some steps to protect themselves and the public from the further spread of COVID-19."

Alas, these and other worries were for naught (or maybe they helped spur the cops into action? Who knows?): TPS made a definitive, albeit late-in-the-game statement regarding a vaccine policy on Tuesday morning.

"The Service has an obligation to ensure a safe workplace for TPS members and the public. This is a primary commitment for the Service, as it has been throughout the pandemic," reads a release published at 11 a.m. this morning by police.

"The Service continues to support and follow public health advice regarding vaccination, social distancing, the wearing of masks, and the use of PPE among other precautions, and 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."

The service says that it will require all members to disclose and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination statuses by September 13, 2021.

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

Lead photo by

Jason Cook

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