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Toronto police issue mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy, union 'does not support' it

There's no current vaccine mandate for police officers in Waterloo Region
Toronto Police Service badge/CityNews Toronto

The Toronto Police Service (TPS) has announced it will require all staff, both uniform and civilian, to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

As a first step towards the policy, all members will have to disclose their vaccination status by September 13.

But there's already push back from the union that represents officers. Jon Reid, President of The Toronto Police Association (TPA), released a statement on Tuesday objecting to the new policy.

"The TPA must make every effort to protect all of our members and therefore, does not support this mandatory vaccination announcement or mandatory disclosure. This announcement has our full attention and TPA will be working closely with other impacted parties, unions, and associations to explore our collective options."

Reid said the policy was vague and lacking detail.

"This announcement, however preliminary, is missing critical details that are central to understanding the impacts, timelines, or potentially alternative options available to our members."

In a release from TPS, Chief James Ramer said, "The safety of our members, our workplaces and the public is of utmost importance to us. Our members will be required to be fully vaccinated to protect each other and the communities we serve."

The force said it would maintain public health measures such as the use of masks and social distancing, among other precautions. According to its website, the police service employs more than 5,500 officers and more than 2,200 civilian staff.

Here in Waterloo Region, there's no current vaccine mandate for police officers.

A WRPS spokesperson issued a statement to 570 NEWS when asked whether Waterloo Regional Police would follow Toronto Police's lead and require shots.

You can read it below.

"Region of Waterloo Public Health and medical evidence highlights that being fully vaccinated is an important step in bringing WRPS safely out of the COVID-19 pandemic and carries with it several public health benefits, including personal health and wellness and protection of our members and those at risk, as well as vulnerable populations that our members may interact with in the course of their duties, employment, directly an/or indirectly. It also allows our Service to make informed health and safety decisions for the protection of all our members and return to a normalized and safe work environment.
We are monitoring the vaccinations of our members to assist us in understanding what portion of our membership are fully vaccinated, as well as help us support operational and administrative planning, consistent with our obligations under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act to provide a safe and healthy workplace."

** With files from CityNews, The Canadian Press, and 570 NEWS **

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