Mandatory Vaccination Policy
Thursday, October 7, 2021
Yesterday, the Government of Canada unveiled the mandatory vaccination policy that had been promised during the election campaign last month. As we’ve indicated previously, the Association of Justice Counsel (AJC) supports the broadest possible vaccination of Canadians, including public servants, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mandatory vaccination policy does not mean that members will be forcibly vaccinated in the workplace. The new policy provides for accommodations based on a certified medical contraindication, religion, or another prohibited ground of discrimination as defined by the Canadian Human Rights Act.
It is well within the rights of the Employer to establish policies that ensure the health and safety of its workers. Such policies must be consistent with the law and collective agreements, clear and reasonable.
The AJC and other Bargaining Agents (BA) were given a very brief period of time to review the draft policy documents relating to mandatory vaccination and provided input to the Employer on Monday and Tuesday. However, we were not given the opportunity to review the final version of the policy which was announced on October 6th in order to ensure that BA suggestions were incorporated into the final version. That said, we are advised that the policy documents are evergreen, and the AJC can continue to advocate for improvements and changes which it considers to be in the best interests of our members. If you have any suggestions on how to improve the policy documents, please send your suggestions to your regional GC representative.
We continue to encourage all our members to get fully vaccinated. Those who choose to not get vaccinated or to not disclose their vaccination status, the Employer’s policy outlines consequences that can include being put on leave without pay.
The AJC remains available should you require support. We are advised that a Q&A document and a manager’s guide will follow in the coming days.