Updated Guidance on Use of ROE Codes for Employee Non-Compliance with Mandatory Vaccination Policies

Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) has provided additional information to help guide employers when issuing records of employment (ROEs) for employees suspended, terminated or placed on a leave of absence due to a mandatory vaccination policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An ROE must be issued any time an employee experiences an interruption in earnings.  When completing the ROE, an employer must indicate in Block 16 the reason for the interruption in earnings, or any other reason why the ROE is being issued.

With respect to ROEs being issued for reasons related to COVID-19, ESDC has provided the following guidance:

  • Code A (Shortage of Work) – To be used when an employee is no longer working because the business has decreased operations or closed due to COVID-19;
  • Code D (Illness or Injury) – To be used when an employee is sick or quarantined;
  • Code E (Quit) or Code N (Leave of Absence) – To be used where an employee does not report to work because they refuse to comply with the employer’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy; and
  • Code M (Dismissal) – To be used where an employee is suspended or terminated for non-compliance with the employer’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

If employers use these codes, ESDC may contact the employer to determine:

  • If the employer had adopted and clearly communicated to all employees a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy;
  • If the employees were informed that failure to comply with the policy would result in loss of employment;
  • If the application of the policy to the employee was reasonable within the workplace context; and
  • If there were any exemptions for refusing to comply with the policy.
  • Employers would be well-advised to ensure that any mandatory vaccination policies are reasonable and clear, both in terms of expectations and consequences for non-compliance.  Mandatory vaccination policies must also be clearly communicated to all affected staff.

If you have any questions about issuing records of employment related to mandatory vaccination policies, other COVID-19 related issues or any questions relating to workplace law generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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