I’ve seen several articles on an employers ability to dictate being vaccinated. I thought it might be useful to share this to help employers understand they may be required to accommodate employees that do not wish to be vaccinated. This can create a conflict with the requirement to maintain a safe workplace. I don’t think we’ve heard the end of the the issue and personally can’t wait til it’s my turn to get the shot and travel again (once safe of course).
EMPLOYERS UNABLE TO MANDATE COVID SHOT
Until provincial governments or their public health officers specifically direct that individuals are vaccinated against COVID-19, there is no specific legal authority to compel an employee or individual to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine, says Richard Press, a partner at DLA Piper. “In other words, you cannot require one of your employees to take the vaccine,” he said at its ‘Vaccines in the Workplace: Rights and Limitations on Requiring Vaccination.’ Absent legislation, employers are unlikely to be able to mandate vaccinations without facing a risk of either human rights or civil claims. It bears mentioning, he said, that across Canada, the health authorities have indicated there is no intention to legislate that employees must be vaccinated. However, not getting vaccinated could have consequences impacting the ability to work in certain settings. For example, employees who travel on business may need to show they have been vaccinated if they want to fly. Employers across Canada have a duty to take every reasonable precaution to ensure that the workplace is safe and most employers will be able to do so without mandating employees get vaccinated, he said. This can be done by allowing employees to continue to work remotely or modifying hours of work so the employees can work in an environment where physical distancing can be maintained. There is also an obligation to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19 through adjusting health and safety plans, screening employees, requiring workers and visitors to wear appropriate PPEs. Vaccines should be considered as well, he said.