As the more contagious Delta variant continues to circulate, Metrolinx is implementing even stronger measures to ensure as many people as possible get fully vaccinated and are protected.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Metrolinx invested in a multi-layered approach to safety to lower the risk and control the spread. This strategy included implementing over 40 safety measures – like mandatory masks, protective barriers between seats, daily health screening, rapid testing and other workplace safety protocols, as well as supporting staff to get fully vaccinated to keep everyone safe.
To date, these actions have helped keep cases low (approximately three per cent of the total Metrolinx workforce has tested positive) and prevented outbreaks on trains and buses.
Now, the more contagious Delta variant requires even stronger measures to ensure as many people as possible get fully vaccinated and are protected.
Vaccination is the most effective way to reduce the chances of infection and weaken the virus’ ability to cause serious illness. Therefore, Metrolinx will implement a mandatory vaccination policy for employees.
At the direction of Caroline Mulroney, Ontario Minister of Transportation, Metrolinx is in the process of developing a detailed mandatory vaccination policy and implementation plan to be shared with all employees and released in the coming days.
Metrolinx has ensured there are no barriers for staff to get vaccinated – employees are provided time off to get their shots, provided easy access to vaccine clinics on site to make it convenient, and opportunities to talk to public health experts. Metrolinx is also supporting the province’s efforts to get as many people vaccinated as possible by transforming two GO buses into mobile vaccination clinics.
Preliminary results from a recent internal survey found that approximately 81 per cent of Metrolinx employees who responded (approximately 2,000 staff) are already fully vaccinated and another two per cent had received their first dose. These are impressive results so far. A mandatory policy for staff will help boost those numbers even higher and help recovery efforts.
“Our staff have been on the frontlines every day since this pandemic began and I am incredibly proud of the work they have done to keep essential transit services going and customers safe,” said Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster. “Many of our employees are already vaccinated but now we are facing a more contagious foe that could threaten the incredible progress we have made to control the spread.”
“Our goal was and continues to be to ensure our teams and our customers have the highest protection possible.”
Story by Anne Marie Aikins, Metrolinx head of media and public relations