Last month, RT&S reported that TTC would require COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees.
Last week, the TTC revised the deadline for employees to comply with its mandatory vaccination policy – a move that will ensure safe operations as the policy comes into effect.
Recognizing that more than 600 employees have received their first vaccine dose in the last few weeks, the deadline to receive two doses (or one dose of a single dose series) has been moved to Nov. 20.
“Safety is always our top concern. Our priority during the pandemic continues to be making sure everyone working at the TTC is kept as safe as possible,” said TTC CEO Rick Leary. “I want to thank everyone who has gotten vaccinated and disclosed their status to us. This is an important step in putting the pandemic behind us and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to keep our family, friends and communities healthy.”
Employees who are unvaccinated or have not shared their status by the end of the day on Nov. 20 will be placed on unpaid absence until they complete their vaccination course. Effective Dec. 31, employees who remain unvaccinated or who have not shared their proof of complete vaccination dosage will have their employment terminated.
These measures do not apply to employees with an approved Ontario Human Rights Code accommodation or medical exemption. No decisions have been made yet on how these employees will be accommodated. “It is unfortunate we have to take these steps” Leary said. “The TTC is an essential service and we need it to be a safe place for everyone. We will be doing everything we can to uphold our core value of safety.”
As of today, approximately 85% of the agency’s 15,061 active employees have shared their COVID-19 vaccination status, with 89% of them fully vaccinated and 11% with one dose. In total, 83% of unionized employees and 93% of non-unionized employees have shared their status.
In preparation for Nov. 21, the TTC is also making contingency plans that will be scalable based on the final number of employees deemed fully vaccinated and eligible to work.
The TTC is looking at a number of options to offset potential service disruptions if necessary, including expediting the hiring of more operators, asking recent retirees to come back to work, re-training operators to work across modes and temporarily increasing overtime opportunities. As well, starting Nov. 21, scheduled hours may need to be reduced depending on staff availability. But the priority will be to ensure reliable and predictable service continues on the busiest routes at the busiest times of day.
To date, the TTC has held 46 vaccination clinics for employees as well as customers, and there are many more planned in the coming weeks. More than 8,000 shots have been administered at these clinics.