Toronto’s mayor says the city is postponing some recreational programs as a result of the loss of some staff who were not vaccinated.
Chad Grindrod said in a statement released late on Wednesday that the city has limited room in its gymnasiums and other locations.
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It is suspending some soccer programs at the end of the year as well as some after-school programs and weekend programming for a limited time, Grindrod said.
“Some staff were unvaccinated while many more have vaccinated, but there are a few areas in need of additional space. The city will keep these programs running as long as possible.”
Grindrod, who has been vocal in his opposition to vaccinations, did not say when the programs would resume.
Toronto’s parks department also posted a statement on its website urging parents to vaccinate their children if they are not fully immunized.
It said “failure to vaccinate a child can lead to the refusal of vaccines for friends, peer-to-peer contact, in-school daycare and other opportunity situations.”
The statement said the department made a best effort to ensure its staff were up to date on their vaccination and noted it was accessible through its website, by phone or social media.
Grindrod, who is running for a second term in November’s municipal election, has previously cited discredited medical studies that link vaccines to autism and recently argued the city should allow non-residents to parks for free.
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Grindrod said this was “in line with” his view that the city should not require all families to pay for services like police, fire and other municipal services.
It comes amid a broader national debate over vaccination as Ontario school boards have faced waves of cancellations of school care after parents declined to allow their children to receive the vaccine.
A rise in measles in 2016 led to some public health units in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, recommending children receiving the vaccine to avoid spreading the virus.
The increase also prompted eight Ontario school boards, which provide school programs for more than 640,000 children, to announce recently they would be pulling children from school care on a staggered basis.