Ontario PC caucus members have until Thursday to get vaccinated: Ford’s office
Published Tuesday, August 17, 2021 7:23PM EDT
All members of Ontario's Progressive Conservative caucus are expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and have until Thursday to do so, or face the prospect of being booted.
Premier Doug Ford's office confirmed the directive to CP24 Tuesday evening.
“Due to the nature of their work which involves daily interaction with members of the public, including the most vulnerable, it is our expectation that every single PC Caucus member and candidate be vaccinated,” Ford’s office said in an email.
CTV News Toronto has learned that two PC MPPs remain unvaccinated and that the rest of caucus is fully vaccinated.
Those who refuse to get vaccinated by Thursday face removal from caucus. It was not immediately clear whether the directive called for them to be fully vaccinated with two doses by Thursday, or to have merely initiated the vaccination process.
Ford and his government have urged all members of the public to get vaccinated and have tied the stages of Ontario’s re-opening to vaccination goals for the population.
The premier has said that he does not think that anyone should be forced to get a vaccine and has resisted making vaccinations mandatory or implementing a proof-of-vaccination system in the province.
On Tuesday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore issued a directive requiring healthcare providers and others to be vaccinated or to have to undergo regular COVID-19 testing, though the measure stopped short of actually forcing anyone to get a vaccine.
The Ford government has indicated that there is only so much room for dissent when it comes to key health safety measures around the pandemic.
York Centre MPP Roman Baber was booted from the PC caucus back in January when he criticized the province’s lockdown measures, calling them “deadlier than COVID.”
Ontario had a massive vaccination push through the spring and summer and doses have been freely available to those who need for weeks.
As of Tuesday, close to 74 per cent of Ontario residents 12 and older have been fully vaccinated while nearly 82 per cent have had at least one shot.
Speaking with CP24 Tuesday, Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said he sent a letter to the speaker of the legislature saying that all MPPs at Queen's Park should be vaccinated.
In a statement, Del Duca said the Liberals want to ensure that the return to the legislature “isn’t a super-spreader event” and criticized Ford for not holding virtual sessions of the legislature.
Del Duca also told CP24 that the latest directives for health and education workers don’t go far enough.
“As a dad who has kids heading back to school in less than three weeks, I am deeply, deeply disappointed with today's announcement,” he said. “(There are) no mandatory vaccinations for frontline education or health care workers, something I called for more than three weeks ago.”