Toronto hospital convoy protest

Toronto hospital workers advised not to wear uniforms over weekend due to trucker protest

The Toronto Police Service (TPS) advised healthcare workers to dress inconspicuously during the “Convoy for Freedom Toronto” protests this weekend.  The advice was given in a memo to healthcare workers ahead of the protest, which is set to take place at Queen’s Park beginning at 12 p.m. on Saturday, a few minutes away from three major hospitals.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Toronto Police Services suggest that you not wear clothing which might identify you as a hospital worker on your way to and from work,” the memo to healthcare workers stated.

The memo, which was shared by healthcare workers to Twitter on Thursday, received a ton of backlash, with some suggesting it’s akin to placing blame on the hospital workers for any potential attacks, and that they shouldn’t have to hide their occupations.

“Sounds familiar. Don’t walk alone at night, don’t wear short skirts, keep an eye on your drink. Might as well say it’s not THEIR fault they attack you, it’s YOURS,” one user tweeted.

The TPS was quick to respond, clarifying that the TPS would not direct hospital workers on whether or not to wear their uniforms.

“We understand some staff have expressed concerns about being identified as healthcare workers.  We want to reassure them that healthcare workers are a priority to the Toronto Police Service. We will have a heightened police presence around hospitals this weekend to ensure staff members, as well as patients and their families, feel safe going to and from work.”

TPS reminded any healthcare workers who feel threatened or unsafe to call 9-1-1 for immediate response or to make an officer in the area aware. They also noted that the Chief previously tweeted his support for healthcare workers and their safety.

Earlier this week, the TPS noted that they will have a policing operation in place to ensure public safety and keep emergency access routes to hospitals clear.

“Over the coming days, we will continue to liaise with organizers and partner agencies. Any updates, including disruption to travel, will be communicated to the public at the earliest opportunity,” they tweeted.

Meanwhile, the convoy protests continue in downtown Ottawa, with demonstrators building a wooden structure/community kitchen at Confederation Park on Thursday.

Organizers of the convoy are opposed to COVID-19 restrictions and mandates, and they are vowing to continue protesting until stringent demands are met, including ending vaccine mandates and passports.

On Friday, the province reported 4,047 new cases of COVID-19. A total of 517 people are in ICU due to the virus—83% of patients admitted to the ICU were admitted for COVID-19 and 17% were admitted for other reasons but tested positive for COVID-19.

In Ontario, 30,882,982 vaccine doses have been administered; 92.0% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 89.4% have two doses.

Click here for more info on COVID-19 wastewater surveillance, here for more COVID-19 Ontario news, and here for where you could get rapid COVID-19 tests in Toronto (including a drive-thru option).

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO