"All our candidates are gonna be vaccinated, or they just aren't running for our party, simple as that."
Premier Doug Ford made it very clear that he would not consider an unvaccinated candidate for the 2022 Ontario election. The PC party said medical exemptions will be allowed if they're from a physician.
The NDP, Liberals and Greens said they'd also guarantee their candidates are vaccinated, with necessary exemptions.
Ford, who booted former PC Rick Nicholls from caucus in August for refusing to get the jab, said he won't be a hypocrite on vaccines.
"I can't be up here preaching to get vaccinated and our own team isn't vaccinated," he told reporters Wednesday in a rare press conference, answering a question from QP Briefing. "So, as of right now, every single candidate that's running for the PC Party has been vaccinated, and will be vaccinated, or they won't be running for our party. It's about as clear as day."
He noted that all but one of his current caucus — Christina Mitas — is vaccinated. Mitas is pregnant, and has received a medical exemption.
The province's vaccine passport, which came into effect on Wednesday, only allows exemptions for people who had myocarditis or pericarditis — specific heart issues — or severe allergic reactions after their first dose.
The NDP, Liberals and Greens have confirmed that their entire caucuses are vaccinated and their 2022 candidates will be vaccinated too, with allowances for medical exemptions. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said those exemptions will only be the ones allowed for the vaccine passport; Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca's spokesperson said medical and Human Rights Code exemptions will apply; and Green Leader Mike Schreiner's spokesperson said the party's still working on its exact policy.
QP Briefing has also asked the Grits about whether their 2022 candidates will have to get their shots as well, and will update this story with their answers.
The opposition parties have also asked Speaker Ted Arnott to mandate vaccines for MPPs in the legislature. He denied the request, saying he couldn't block elected officials from doing their jobs.
Government House Leader Paul Calandra's office has not responded to a request about whether Nicholls, who is deputy speaker, will be allowed to continue in his role.
This story has been updated with opposition parties' vaccine commitments.