The federal government has announced that effective June 20, 2022, it will lift COVID-19 vaccine requirements for federal public servants and transportation workers. Some vaccine mandates for domestic and outgoing travel will also be suspended.
Vaccine Mandates for Federal Workers
Citing high vaccination rates and decreasing COVID-19 cases, the Canadian government has said that it is suspending its Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration (CPA) Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. This means that federal government employees and transportation workers in federally regulated sectors will no longer have to be fully vaccinated as a condition of their employment. Instead, employees will be “strongly encouraged to remain up to date with their vaccinations.” Workers on cruise ships, however, will still be required to be fully vaccinated.
As such, federal public servants and transport workers placed on administrative leave without pay as a result of the vaccination policy may now return to work.
The government is also asking Crown corporations and separate agencies to suspend their vaccine requirements and arrange for employees placed on unpaid leave to work to be returned to work.
The federal government will no longer be moving forward with proposed regulations under the Canada Labour Code to make vaccination mandatory in all federally regulated workplaces.
In light of these developments, it is recommended that all federal employers review the practices and policies they have in place respecting COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccine Mandates for Travel
In addition, starting June 20, vaccines will no longer be required for domestic and outbound travel. Other public health measures, such as wearing a mask, continue to apply and will be enforced throughout a traveller’s journey on a plane or train.
Current border measures, including the vaccine requirement for most foreign nationals entering Canada, remain in effect.
Unvaccinated Canadian citizens will be permitted to board trains and fly domestically and overseas, however they will still be subject to quarantining and testing requirements. An unvaccinated traveller returning to Canada:
- Must provide proof of a negative molecular test, such as a PCR test, taken within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled flight or land entry into Canada. (Note: Unvaccinated travellers can also show proof of a negative antigen test taken the previous day, but the test has to be either administered or observed by a pharmacy, lab, or health-care entity or telehealth service.)
- Will be subject to a COVID-19 test on arrival. The test may be done on-site at an airport or travellers may be given a test kit to complete at home.
- Upon arrival, the traveller must also quarantine for 14 days and take another COVID-19 test on day 8 of quarantine.
The Federal Government’s official news release can be found here.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.