Toronto: Half of 1,300 staff on leave recalled for vaccination job back

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Toronto election commission is overseeing the mass vaccination project

More than half of the more than 1,300 city employees who were put on leave because of a new city-wide vaccine requirement to avoid being fired have been recalled to work, health officials say.

The requirement, which came into effect on Monday, has spurred criticism from some people, including celebrities.

Those with the vaccination documents are not allowed to work and their job duties will be reassigned.

Public health officials say it will strengthen the vaccine effort.

‘Large job’

The law requires all city employees to have the required vaccinations before January 2019.

Hugh Evans, the city’s chief medical officer, told the BBC: “There are around 1,300 employees, including public health staff, staff in environmental health, among others, that we have asked to show up and show us a vaccination card.

“That’s quite a large job.”

Anti-vaccination critics of the measure call it a step towards a “police state”.

The Toronto election commission is overseeing the project, with the staff having to undergo “required debriefing” to ensure “that their personal concerns and safety are addressed, as well as to support them to regain their full employment in city government”.

Critics have also pointed out that many of the city’s exempts have children in school.

“A letter should have been sent to the parents who, in the letter, said their child can be vaccinated and the child can start school on Monday” Mr Evans said.

He added that it is not fair to hold people on leave indefinitely and has said he welcomes public debates about the issue.

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