Canada suspending COVID vaccine mandate for federally regulated workers

The Minister of Transport has announced that they are suspending vaccine mandates for those getting on a plane or train at Canadian airports and stations. Inbound travelers will still require vaccination.

By Lucas Casaletto

The Canadian government is temporarily lifting COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federally regulated workers, officials announced Tuesday.

The new rules, which also apply to vaccine mandates for domestic and outbound international travellers, will come into effect on June 20. The requirements for foreign nationals coming to Canada will not change.

Federal workers were required to be vaccinated under government policy. Any worker in the core public administration, including the RCMP, needed to prove that they were fully vaccinated. This also included employers that worked from home.

Those that didn’t comply were subjected to being placed on leave without pay.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the federal government is prepared to “bring back” necessary policies if there’s a resurgence of the virus in the fall.

“Very, very few” federally regulated workers were placed on leave due to vaccine mandates

The vaccine mandate policy for federally regulated employees stated the directive’s goal was to protect workers, their colleagues and clients against COVID-19 and boost vaccine rates across the public service.

As of March 28, more than 98 per cent of federal public workers attested that they were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least two doses.

According to The Canadian Press, approximately 2,690 workers, representing about one per cent of the federal workforce, requested accommodation because of the vaccine mandate.

In April, Chris Aylward, President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), said that “very, very few” employees had been on unpaid leave. PSAC filed a grievance against the workforce vaccination policy on behalf of all members put on leave without pay because of their vaccination status.

The union argued that placing unvaccinated employees on leave was “harsh” and considered the action disciplinary and without cause.

PSAC said at the time that the vaccine mandate for remote workers constituted an abuse of management since people with little prospect of returning to the physical workplace posed no credible threat to health and safety.

LeBlanc says the decision to drop the federal mandate is not a response to the situation at Canada’s airports but is “based on science.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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