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Questions and Answers on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations

02/08/2021

Q. Can the government mandate COVID-19 vaccinations?

A. Governments can pass reasonable regulation and legislation related to vaccination, but at this time, neither the federal or provincial governments have indicated they will require vaccination of all citizens. It is more likely that vaccination will be required for workers employed in specific settings including health-care, long-term care, and group living situations.

Q.  Can my employer require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

A. Depending on the workplace, it may be reasonable for an employer to implement a mandatory vaccination policy that appropriately balances health and safety and public safety with privacy interests, human rights and collective agreement rights and which considers other reasonable measures available to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Q. Is my employer allowed to ask me for proof of vaccination against COVID-19?

A. In certain circumstances employers may require employees to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status depending on the nature of the employment. In health care, long term care, and group living situations such requests are most likely to be deemed legitimate.

Q. Can my employer force me get vaccinated?

A. An employer cannot force you to be vaccinated. You have a right to decline to be immunized. However, if the policy requiring immunization is deemed to be reasonable, you may face a range of consequences for refusing vaccination ranging from redeployment to unpaid leave and up to and including the termination of employment.

Q. What if I have a medical or religious reason for refusing the vaccination?  

A.  Mandatory vaccination policies engage employee human rights considerations. When appropriate documentation is provided employers must undertake an individualized assessment of your need for accommodation, up to the point of undue hardship.

Q. If I don’t believe in vaccinations can I make a claim for human rights protections?

A. No. An employer is not required to accommodate your preferences, but is required to accommodate your needs that are related to human rights protected grounds. 

Q. Can my employer demand a blood sample to conduct antibody testing?

A. The Union has always resisted employer demands of blood testing of employees because of heightened privacy and human rights considerations.