COVID-19 Vaccinations

Can You Require Workers to Get the COVID-19 Vaccination?

Yes, a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy is legally justifiable as long as:  it’s a necessary health and safety measure for the particular workplace;  it’s no more intrusive than it has to be;  it doesn’t violate the contractual or collective agreement rights of employees; and it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of religion, disability or other grounds protected by human rights laws.

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OHS Compliance: Vaccination Report

Even though the COVID situation is new and unprecedented, we can still discern the boundaries with regard to employers’ rights to demand that workers get vaccinated. Specifically, we know that courts and arbitrators have historically upheld mandatory flu vaccination policies (as well as their slightly less restrictive cousin, the vaccination-or-mask policy requiring all employees to either get vaccinated or wear a mask during flu season) as a legitimate workplace health and safety measure. This consensus is based on 3 undisputable facts that pertain to COVID now that Health Canada has approved a vaccine for the virus.

Fact 1: While OHS laws don’t specifically address flu or flu vaccinations, they do require employers to take measures “reasonable in the circumstances” to protect workers from hazards;

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COVID Vaccination Report
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Fact 2: When a worker gets the flu, it poses a hazard to not just co-workers but everybody in the workplace, including customers, patients, guests, etc.; and

Fact 3: Flu vaccinations have been proven to be safe and effective in preventing the flu.