On October 6, 2021, the federal government announced further details about the government's mandatory vaccination policy for employees in the federal public service and federally regulated transportation sectors. These requirements were previously announced on August 13, 2021 but included only rough timelines for implementation.
The government's announcement included extensive new requirements for certain federal workplaces.
Employees in the core public administration of the federal government will be required to confirm their vaccination status by October 29, 2021. These employees must be vaccinated regardless of whether they are working remotely or on-site. Employees will be responsible for attesting to their vaccination status and providing a false attestation may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. Employees who are unwilling to disclose their vaccination status or be fully vaccinated will be placed on an administrative leave without pay as soon as November 15, 2021.
Employers in the federal transportation sector (including air, rail and marine) will be required to establish vaccine policies by October 30, 2021 that ensure employees are vaccinated.
Accommodation can be requested for employees who are unable to be vaccinated for grounds protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Crown corporations are being asked to implement vaccine policies with the same requirements as those in the public service and a directive will be issued requiring vaccination for the Canadian Armed Forces.
The government has not announced mandatory vaccination for other federally regulated workplaces (like banking or telecommunications), but the announcement says the government will "keep working with employers" in those other sectors to ensure vaccination is "prioritized" for workers.
Federal sector employers impacted by the new requirements will want to act quickly to ensure that they have the appropriate measures in place. In addition, employers should be mindful of ongoing communications from the government regarding the content of vaccination policies and be prepared to act quickly to maintain compliance.
If you would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing vaccination policies, please contact the author or your usual Fasken lawyer.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.