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CUPE 416, which represents 800 ambulance workers in Toronto, welcomed news that the Ontario government plans to repeal the mandatory flu shot requirement for paramedics. Paramedics are the only health care workers in the province who are required to take the flu vaccination.

“It appears the province has heard the concerns of paramedics,” says local president Brian Cochrane. “Last year Local 416 launched a legal challenge based on our belief that the mandatory flu shot is unconstitutional and violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

In addition to the court challenge, CUPE members across the province have rallied around Bill Kotsopoulos, a paramedic from North Bay who was suspended for refusing to be vaccinated. Led by the CUPE Ambulance Committee of Ontario, chaired by Mike Dick, their mounting protests forced the government to back down.