Toronto Halts Some Work Out Programs After Labor Day, Seeks More Vaccinations

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The City of Toronto announced on Thursday that it’s “pausing” some of its recreational programs as it deals with a large number of unvaccinated employees.

The city said the initiative would affect swimming pools, parks, libraries and other places where the public can get exercise during the summer months.

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“We felt it was important at this time to pause certain programs so we could screen employees to ensure they are up to date on their vaccine requirements,” said Peter Jardine-Bryan, the city’s director of parks, recreation and culture.

“We have found that in past years, that around 60 per cent of city employees have not completed the required immunizations,” he added, noting that no employees will be fired over the issue.

In order to deal with the outbreak, however, the city said it is also putting a citywide policy in place to hold the line for all jobs except police officers and firefighters, which can be exempted by special qualifications.

The city estimates it will save around C$6.5 million this year after the change.

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Opponents to vaccinations say there is no scientific link between vaccines and autism, despite the fact that as of 2014, a study by a now-disgraced British doctor concluded that children with autism were three times more likely to have received a hepatitis B vaccine at some point.

With the controversy at a new peak, the chief executive of the city, John Tory, made a public plea to stop the spread in June when three people were found to have brought measles to the city’s west side.

“We must stop this outbreak, we must stop all the factionalism,” Tory said, calling for people not to be afraid of the flu or vaccinations.

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