Two Tory legislators given Thursday deadline to get COVID vax or face caucus removal

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TORONTO — Two members of the Progressive Conservative government have been given a Thursday deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or face ejection from caucus, The Canadian Press has learned.

Government whip Lorne Coe says in a letter that it was discussed at a caucus meeting that “every member of the Progressive Conservative team” must get vaccinated unless medically unable to do so.

The letter obtained by The Canadian Press says members have until 5 p.m. on Thursday to provide Coe and the government house leader with proof of vaccination or a medical note.

The note signed by a doctor or registered nurse must state that vaccination would be detrimental to the person’s health or is unnecessary because of a past infection.

A senior government source told The Canadian Press that the letter was sent to two unidentified Tory legislators who are not yet vaccinated against the virus.

The directive comes as Premier Doug Ford has refused to mandate vaccinations for frontline health and education workers despite mounting calls to do so.

Ford – who has personally been fully vaccinated and has repeatedly urged residents to get their shots – has said he believes individuals have a constitutional right not to take the vaccine.