More than 100 Toronto police officers have been suspended for failing to get vaccinated, and some officers are facing disciplinary hearings.
The Toronto Star reported Wednesday about the suspensions, which are expected to continue for the next couple of months, saying the officers were assigned “particular duties” and were told by superiors that “vaccination of all members was a requirement.”
The paper reported an October flu vaccination program was mandatory at Toronto Police Service’s professional school, while the idea was for officers to be vaccinated the following week during their “self-study day.”
The teachers told the officers they couldn’t do other events on Oct. 3. So many officers didn’t show up for training, the Star reported, and later some in the force voted to ban the use of “self-study days” for failing to have flu shots.
That soon became an unwritten rule of keeping the officers from training, according to the newspaper.
“It was intentional,” Wayne Pitts, a Toronto police officer told the Star. “It became part of our regime, and why you have the right to vote.”
But some officers were not affected, with more than 100 unable to get flu shots.
The officers on suspension are fired or pending charges, as well as 50 with lesser repercussions who are disciplined or suspended, the Star reported.
“Under terms of their fitness to work agreement, the members are entitled to limited monetary or non-monetary support,” Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, of the Toronto Police Service, told the newspaper.
Schmidt said fewer than 200 officers received flu shots and only one city cop died from flu complications.
He also noted half of Toronto’s 49,000 cops – 77 percent – had the vaccine. In Washington state, which has similar demographics, 90 percent of the 90,000-member police force received flu shots this season.
As for the suspensions, Schmidt told the Star that the officers’ union has received communication regarding the suspensions from the Toronto Police Services Board “and will work in co-operation with the board and other personnel associated with the suspensions.”
The Toronto Board, which consists of nine members, can “suspend a staff member for a maximum of 10 days without pay,” the Star reported.