Staff Report #5
November 24, 2021
To All Commissioners
Re: COVID—19 Conventional Service Impacts
The report be NOTED and FILED.
At the October 27, 2021 meeting, the Commission was provided an update with respect to the various COVID-related impacts on the conventional transit service. This report serves as an update on the issues that continue to impact service delivery as well as a progress report on the implementation of the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.
Human Resource Issues
Work continues with respect to the onboarding of Operators in an effort to reach the required complement level to return to normal service levels and implement the 2021 service improvements. A class of four Operators has recently graduated and is available for service. In addition, another class of four began their training on November 8, and a class of six is set to begin their training on November 29, 2021. Administration is continuing efforts to hire for classes of six for the new year.
While the onboarding has remained on target, the overall complement is anticipated to be reduced again in the new year with a number of Operators anticipated to retire into the Wind Down Program (consistent with provisions in the Collective Agreement with the ATU 741).
Supply Chain Issues
Over the past number of months, supply chain issues have hampered manufacturers across the country, most notably the automotive sector, with many factories having to shut down or reduce shifts to accommodate the lack of parts. Until recently, these issues appeared to be focused on the personal automobile sector, and had not impacted transit in any significant way. Unfortunately this is no longer the case.
At time of report writing, there are 16 buses that are not available for service as the parts required are outstanding, noting in some cases, suppliers are indicating a delivery date of 16 weeks out from date of order. In addition, there is a North America-wide shortage of the sensor that is required for the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) system on conventional transit buses. There are currently three buses in the LTC fleet that are not available for service as this sensor has failed and there is no availability for replacements; and the current estimated delivery date for these parts is unknown. The transit industry has worked in partnership with the engine manufacturer and a short-term solution has been identified which will allow the buses to return to service. At time of report writing, administration is in the process of applying and testing the solution to the buses that are currently down. Further details with respect to this issue will be provided at the meeting.
In addition to parts shortages and delays, a North America-wide tire shortage has recently come to light. Administration has been in contact with the supplier of the Commission’s leased tires, and has been advised that while shipments will continue to be limited until the end of 2021, it is anticipated the issues will be rectified in early 2022 and orders will be able to be filled as requested.
COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Implementation Update
The COVID-19 Vaccination Policy which applies to London Transit employees and contractors working on behalf of London Transit included a phased implementation approach, with the final deadline date for policy compliance being November 12, 2021, which means they had to provide proof they are fully vaccinated, or provide confirmation they meet one of the exemptions below no later than November 12, 2021. In order to be exempted from being fully vaccinated, an employee must:
- Provide proof of a medical reason from a licensed physician as to why they cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19 consistent with recognized medical exemptions as set out by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, and undertake regular testing as determined and required by London Transit; or
- Provide a proof of a non-medical reason protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and undertake regular testing as determined and required by London Transit.
The following table provides a summary of the compliance rate for the COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for London Transit employees, noting the numbers in the table represent only those employees who are currently working (i.e. excludes those who are off work on disability, WSIB or other leaves).
|Status||% of Employees|
|Exemption Requests (but not confirmed)||3%|
With respect to those employees who have submitted a request for exemption, the details of submissions are currently being reviewed with legal counsel and communication with respect to whether requests are deemed to be consistent with the requirements of the policy will be shared with employees as determinations are made. It is anticipated this process will be completed by the end of November.
With respect to the employees who have been deemed to be not compliant with the policy, they have been placed on un-paid leave.
Administration will continue to work with the employees in the two aforementioned groups in an effort to ensure they have access to accurate information with respect to the vaccine to assist them in making a decision with respect to whether they will get vaccinated and subsequently return to work. Given the relatively small number of employees in these groups, service has not been impacted beyond what has been common place throughout the pandemic (e.g. one run being cancelled, starting late, finishing early, etc.). Service interruptions of this nature are reflected in the real-time information provided via the corporate website, and are also communicated through social media channels if they are significant in nature.
Administration will continue to provide regular updates on the aforementioned issues as appropriate.
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Joanne Galloway, Director of Human Resources
Craig Morneau, Director of Fleet & Facilities
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager