The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has released a statement on covid-19 vaccine mandates and vaccine certificates.
The statement is helpful for employers and provides guidance on potential for non-medical code accommodations.
The OHRC confirmed requiring proof of vaccination to protect people at work is generally permissible under the Human Rights Code (“Code”):
“While receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary, the OHRC takes the position that mandating and requiring proof of vaccination to protect people at work or when receiving services is generally permissible under the Human Rights Code (Code) as long as protections are put in place to make sure people who are unable to be vaccinated for Code-related reasons are reasonably accommodated. This applies to all organizations.
With respect to non-medical accommodations, the OHRC confirmed a personal belief will not be covered by the Code:
“The OHRC and relevant human rights laws recognize the importance of balancing people’s right to non-discrimination and civil liberties with public health and safety, including the need to address evidence-based risks associated with COVID-19.
Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary. At the same time, the OHRC’s position is that a person who chooses not to be vaccinated based on personal preference does not have the right to accommodation under the Code. The OHRC is not aware of any tribunal or court decision that found a singular belief against vaccinations or masks amounted to a creed within the meaning of the Code.
While the Code prohibits discrimination based on creed, personal preferences or singular beliefs do not amount to a creed for the purposes of the Code.”
Please see the attached link below for the full statement: