GO Train and UP Express drivers are not subject to a Metrolinx-wide vaccine mandate that went into effect earlier this month.
Metrolinx’s vaccine policy, announced in September, required all employees to submit proof of vaccination by November 1. Any employees who did not show proof of inoculation by then were placed on unpaid leave.
Metrolinx confirmed to Daily Hive on Wednesday that GO Train and UP Express crews aren’t Metrolinx employees. They are technically employees of the manufacturer Alstrom and are therefore subject to Alstrom’s own vaccine mandate, which won’t kick in for a number of weeks.
“Their policy implementation was delayed until December 5, as part of contract negotiations to ensure their employees had as much notice as our employees,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins told Daily Hive. “In the meantime, Alstom must provide adequate testing, screening and other infection control measures to ensure no one is at risk. All employees continue to wear medical masks, get health screened every shift, are supported with sick time and have time off for vaccination.”
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When Metrolinx announced its vaccine mandate for employees, the differentiation between train crews and other employees who work directly for Metrolinx was not made clear. Metrolinx is assuring customers, though, that all employees who work on GO Trains and UP Express will ultimately have to follow a vaccine mandate.
“The most important thing I want to stress is that all employees, contract or otherwise will be required to meet our mandate to be vaccinated,” Aikins said. “We have had strict health and safety protocols in place since the pandemic began which has ensured staff and contractors remained healthy with very low virus levels and literally zero outbreaks on trains and buses. And that is not about to be compromised now. Safety will not be compromised.”