Story highlights Fewer than 1,300 city employees will face suspension or termination due to their failure to meet Toronto’s immunization mandate deadline, according to city documents
The original deadline to renew required children to have at least two doses of a vaccine for the H1N1 flu, tetanus and diphtheria
A new document filed with the Ontario Municipal Board provides more insight into the city’s disciplinary sanctions.
If you’re traveling to Toronto — or just a fan of the national city in Ontario — you may have heard about a bit of a vaccine controversy.
On June 8, the deadline to renew required vaccinations for Toronto’s newborn children passed, and an unknown number of parents declined to keep up with the mandate to have two doses of a vaccine for the H1N1 flu, tetanus and diphtheria. Health Canada’s vaccination coverage for infants ages six months and under is 95%.
To make matters worse, some parents accused the city of not doing enough to let parents know about the deadline.
Toronto’s version of Uber, Uber Eats, notified users June 13 to be wary of terms that said a “citywide no-show” for vaccinations would lead to the loss of their rides. Users quickly flooded Uber’s Facebook page with comments. City employees were only one of many groups with their own side of the story.
Soon after, Mayor John Tory warned that “sanctions” were coming for the city’s staff, after Public Health Commissioner Dr. David McKeown reported a “100 percent failure” rate for immunization compliance.
Shortly thereafter, the city set up a 24-hour hotline to advise patients with questions or concerns.
After 25 days, the city of Toronto settled on a list of employees it deemed irresponsible or dangerous to parents and guardians. Sources, who didn’t want to be named, told CNN the list included several human resources employees and more than half a dozen staff at the municipal licensing and standards department.
The two remaining employees can expect suspension and/or termination based on multiple factors, including how long they worked for the city or what they’re facing since their day of absences, City of Toronto documents show.
Here’s a list of the “high risk” employees now facing unspecified “punitive and disciplinary measures.”
Chris Kitsos: Assistant city manager
James Willows: Director, Public Health Department
Bernard Doutre: Manager, municipal licensing and standards
James Miller: Program Director, human resources and labor relations
Kay Sommers: Director, development services
Lisa Tuno: Deputy chief financial officer
Christine Adams: Senior vice president, human resources & labour relations
Sue Foster: City of Toronto executive director, human resources & labour relations
Ben Volle: Environmental project co-ordinator
Karen Siebers: Senior management adviser, chief executive, human resources & labour relations
That leaves around 570 employees facing discipline for missing or failing to vaccinate newborns during Toronto’s requirement-free immunization period. But, in total, only around 1,300 city employees work in “high risk” areas.
The memo stated there will be no “mass discipline” and that “performance management and processes for suspension and termination are consistent with community standards and with the local health officer’s guidelines.” But disciplinary measures will be “effective immediately.”
While changes like deleting email addresses may concern any city employee, several comments on the city’s Facebook page support the action.
“This is well deserved. You need all the support you can get during these difficult times,” responded “Bridget” to CNN.
“Vaccinations are a life or death situation! You need to understand the seriousness. Doctors know this,” stated “Krystyna.”
“On July 20th, we can expect to see a lot more kids who didn’t get their H1N1 vaccine due to the illegal breaches,” agreed “Merit” as another response.