Brampton mayor worried Ontario is putting vaccine certificate enforcement costs on municipalities
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown speaks at a press conference on January 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
TORONTO -- Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown says that he is concerned that costs related to enforcing Ontario’s new vaccine certificate system when disputes arise will inevitably be “put on the backs of municipalities.”
Businesses have already spoken out about the fact that the new system will put the onus on their employees to check documentation and verify vaccination status but during a briefing on Wednesday Brown said that he is worried that there will also be a “huge new workload” for police and bylaw enforcement officers.
“When I look at our bylaw volume, 50 to 60 per cent of our bylaw work right now is COVID-related and that is only going to rise,” he warned. “If the number you call when there is an incident or a disagreement or an enforcement problem is the bylaw department that volume is going to grow. And I'm told when bylaw cannot resolve the matter in a peaceful fashion that's where it gets escalated to the police and once again there'll be costs associated with that. So this is a huge new workload that's being put on the back of municipalities.”
Health Minister Christine Elliott said last week that businesses who felt threatened by a patron during the course of verifying their vaccine status could call 9-1-1 for assistance.
The Toronto Police Service, however, quickly issued a tweet clarifying that 9-1-1 is for “emergencies only.”
Brown said that he does view the vaccine certificate program “as an important policy to get residents vaccinated and create safe spaces but he said that it is “abundantly clear” that municipalities need financial support to help cover some of the costs related to enforcement.
“The province is saying call 9-1-1 or call bylaw and I can tell you there are no resources allocated for this when it comes to the police or bylaw and at some point the province is going to need to reconcile that and make sure that we have the resources to support this provincial policy,” Brown said on Wednesday.
The federal Liberal government has previously promised $1 billion in funding to provinces to help implement vaccine certificate systems, though it is not clear whether any of that money will be redirected to municipalities.