The federal government has introduced legislation to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory in all remaining federally regulated workplaces.
Mandatory vaccines are already in place for those in the public sector, as well as federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors, travellers on these modes of transportation, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
These new regulations would make two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for those working in road transportation, telecommunications and banking. The move is expected to affect nearly one million Canadians.
“Canada has led the world on vaccination rates, thanks to Canadians, their belief in science, and their willingness to roll up their sleeves,” said Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., who introduced the new policies.
“Making vaccination mandatory across all federally regulated workplaces will protect workers, their families, and their communities. It will help us finish the fight against COVID-19 and help us sustain a strong and stable economic recovery.”
The requirement would also apply to all employees whether they are teleworking, working remotely or working on site. Federally regulated workers make up about 8.5 per cent of all employees in Canada, at about 1.3 million.
Contracted personnel who require access to federal government worksites must also be vaccinated.
If a worker does not wish to be vaccinated or does not disclose their vaccination status, they will be placed on administrative leave with no pay.
Employers who do not comply with the proposed regulations, if passed, would be subject to compliance and enforcement measures, including administrative monetary penalties and fines.
However, in recognition of Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and self-government, Indigenous governing bodies and First Nation Band Councils will be exempt from the new requirements.