Written by Omar El Akkad, CNN
Jakann Romano, head of Toronto’s medical officer of health for the last 11 years, said she was informed Wednesday night that 194 employees had not submitted vaccination certificates, exposing them to health risks.
The vaccination is mandatory for Toronto health services employees. The city says that most of the 213 employees who did submit vaccination certificates are from the Toronto Health Partnership, which administers shots and infections control services.
The remaining four employees were suspended for not fulfilling their contractual duties.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city. As of 2016, it had a population of 715,212, according to the most recent census data.
The mayor of Toronto, John Tory, told reporters Thursday that, although the number of employees has since been reduced to 250, the decision to suspend is “deeply regrettable.”
“We have to work really hard as a public health system here to make sure that we have a good working relationship with the people we’re trying to protect,” he said, adding that individuals who breach their duties will have to face “serious consequences.”
According to Romano, some of the city employees were a part of a health fair on October 8.
“The vaccination is mandatory, but we continue to look at the circumstances surrounding why the vaccinations were not submitted, so that we can learn lessons from that and prevent any similar occurrences in the future,” she said.
Romano said that there are 19 reasons employees are not able to provide medical documentation, such as non-payment for training or outdated vaccination papers.
“People are required to follow our rules regardless of the reason why they may not be able to provide the documentation,” she said.
“We, like any organization, use documentation from the previous employer for authorization,” she said. “However, if that information doesn’t exist, then that documentation becomes non-existent for us.”
Romano did not release the names of the suspended and suspended employees, stating that they will not be named during the investigation.
Toronto’s health services operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.