THE Government of Canada on Friday announced its intent to require vaccination as early as the end of September across the federal public service, stating that vaccinations were the best line of defence and for those few who are unable to be vaccinated, accommodation or alternative measures, such as testing and screening, may be determined in each situation, to protect broader public health by reducing the risk of COVID-19.
As the country’s largest employer, the Government of Canada said that it is committed to playing a leadership role by further protecting the health and safety of public servants and the communities where they live and work across Canada and around the world.
In addition, as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October, the Government of Canada will require employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated. The vaccination requirement will also extend to certain travellers. This includes all commercial air travellers, passengers on interprovincial trains, and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations, such as cruise ships.
The government will engage with key stakeholders, including bargaining agents and transportation sector operators, as we plan for the implementation of these initiatives. Details will be communicated as the work unfolds. The process will include determining how this requirement will be implemented, through confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination and other means of protection, such as testing when necessary.
Further, the Government of Canada expects that Crown corporations and other employers in the federally regulated sector will also require vaccination for their employees. The government will work with these employers to ensure this result.
MEANWHILE, Chris Aylward, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said in a statement: “As Canada enters a fourth wave of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for Canadians to do everything they can to protect each other and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
“Science has shown us that vaccinations – alongside other measures like masking and physical distancing – are the most effective ways to fight COVID-19 and keep each other safe.
“PSAC supports measures to increase vaccination rates, including vaccination requirements for federal public service workers to protect our members, their colleagues, and our communities.
“Governments and employers have an obligation to ensure our workplaces are safe for public service workers and Canadians everywhere.
“Although we support the goals of the government’s proposal, it’s critical that any eventual plan put forward by the government that would collect or verify the vaccination or medical status of our members respects their legal right to privacy. The government must also provide accommodations for workers who cannot be vaccinated for reasons protected under human rights legislation.
“We expect the government to continue consulting with unions on the implementation of their vaccination requirements to safeguard our members’ right to privacy and ensure that their human rights are respected. ”