Canadian Government Moves Toward Mandatory Vaccination for All Federal Workplaces

On December 7, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that it is consulting on regulations under Part II of the Canada Labour Code (“CLC”) to make COVID vaccination mandatory in all federally regulated workplaces. No such regulations mandating vaccination broadly in the federal sector currently exist. Regulations are expected to be passed and come into force in early 2022.

Mandatory vaccination requirements by way of federal policy directives are already in place for employees working in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors, as well as for all federal public servants in the Core Public Administration and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. These requirements apply whether employees are teleworking, working remotely, or working on-site.

New Regulations under the CLC are anticipated to require employers to ensure that employees are vaccinated in all other federally regulated industries. This would include private sector employees in industries such as road transportation, telecommunications, and banking. Many employers in these industries have decided to implement vaccination policies providing for a rapid testing alternative for employees who remain unvaccinated (“vaccination or test policies”).   Such employers should be prepared to review their policies and seek legal advice to ensure compliance with the new Regulations. 

Employers who do not comply with their obligations under the CLCand Regulations may be subject to compliance and enforcement measures, including administrative monetary penalties.

Indigenous Governing Bodies and First Nation Band Councils will be exempted from the new requirements. The Government will work with Indigenous partners to provide information on the new measures should they wish to follow the same approach at their own discretion.

The Government will be consulting with key stakeholders, including FETCO and other employer representatives, prior to promulgating the new regulations. The consultation paper is available by contacting: Sarah Smith.  We will provide updates when we have further information.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Anthony Kwong, an Articling Student in the firm’s Toronto office.

If you have any questions about the federal announcement, other COVID-19 related issues or any questions relating to workplace law generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer or refer to the Firm’s other COVID-19 website resources.

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