Vaccination levels up and virus levels down as Metrolinx keeps staff and customers safe during pandemic

Since January 2020, Metrolinx has kept the public updated on the actions to limit the spread of the virus including any new efforts implemented to keep everyone safe and been transparent about the number of staff who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Vaccination rates are increasing – to date more than 8.5 million shots have been administered in Ontario – and virus levels are decreasing in both Ontario and at Metrolinx.

Since May 13, Metrolinx has had seven additional staff across a variety of work locations – some working from home – test positive for COVID-19. None appear to be as a result of workplace transmissions.

The total number of Metrolinx staff testing positive is now 160 out of more than 4,500 employees – approximately 3 per cent of the workforce. Of the total number of Metrolinx staff who tested positive since March 2020, more than 90 per cent contracted the virus outside the workplace.

A worker scrubs the inside of a bus.
Linburg James wipes down the grab rail inside a GO bus at the Streetsville Maintenance Facility. While Metrolinx has always disinfected vehicles and stations daily, it has stepped up the frequency to ensure all high touch surfaces are cleaned regularly throughout the day. (Matt Llewellyn photo)  

As eligibility opens, many Metrolinx employees, including our senior management team have rolled up their sleeve – some have even gotten their second shot. The Incident Command Team is also hoping to host, along with health officials a first shot, on-site clinic for staff and family, as well as contractors. Stay tuned for more information in coming days.

“Along with all of the dozens of safety actions already in place, vaccination is a key part to recovery,” said Martin Gallagher, Metrolinx Chief Safety Officer.

Gallagher added it is also “critically important that we build the confidence of our customers as they gradually return to public transit.”

Gallagher said while the pandemic controls put in place over the last year have helped keep staff and customers safe, the primary goal of a vaccine program is to immunize most of the population so that COVID-19 can no longer spread.  

To support staff and bolster uptake, an internal education campaign is underway with Metrolinx staff which includes hearing personal stories from leaders and colleagues about their personal reasons for getting vaccinated. Staff are also supported with three hours paid time off to get vaccinated.  

Stay safe and focused on the basics from public health:

  • Stay home if ill or potentially exposed to COVID-19; get tested if experiencing symptoms.
  • Keep informed about vaccine safety and consider getting vaccinated.  
  • Even if fully vaccinated, continue to wear a face covering while using public transit until direction of public health changes.
  • Continue washing hands regularly, use hand sanitizer and keep a safe distance from others.
  • Download the COVID Alert App.

Story by Anne Marie Aikins, Metrolinx senior manager of media.