Challenging Mandatory Vaccination Policies In Ontario: Arbitrators Take A First Look And Reach Differing Conclusions

The majority of our clients are NOT unionized, but these decisions often form the legislative, and regulatory rules that follow.

There are now three recent Ontario arbitration decisions that address whether an employer may require its unionized employees to be vaccinated. While directly relevant to unionized employers, given the lack of case law considering the issue, these decisions may have further-reaching impacts on all employers in Ontario.


Evolving Issues in Workplace Investigations Seminar -Thursday at noon

If you are interested, Williams HR Law is putting on this free lunchtime webinar tomorrow.

This webinar covers how the evolving landscape of our New World of Work has impacted how employers conduct and address issues related to workplace investigations. Topics will include common pitfalls in conducting workplace investigations in our current climate; critical considerations when selecting investigators; and when investigations may require specialized training in equity, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and/or trauma.

The Zoom link will be provided to all registrants prior to the event. For those who have not yet registered, please click here to register.

Is Refusing To Get Vaccinated Just Cause For Termination In The Non-unionized Workplace?

There has been a fair amount of discussion around vaccination policies and the impending unpaid leave of absences, with possible termination coming down the road. At the moment, they are only discussion as we have seen no court cases (yet) to provide direction.  Arbitration cases have gone both ways, but it’s still early days.  The article below identifies some of an employers considerations.

As workplaces around the country implement employee vaccination policies in response to the pandemic, the obvious question arises of what can be done to enforce them. A well-crafted policy will include provisions on what discipline may apply to employees who fail to comply. However, the existence of a policy statement regarding treatment of non-compliant employees does not, in and of itself, justify all disciplinary measures carried out thereunder.


Employment Update: When Can Employers Provide an Exemption to COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Requirements?

An interesting article has been posted by Blaney McMurtry Employment Lawyer.  It contains information on bon fide reasons for exemptions (very few it appears) and what they must contain.  Also interesting is the reference to the Ontario Human Rights Commission statement we posted back on September 22nd.

In our September 9, 2021 Employment Update: Reopening Workplaces and Vaccination Policies, we reported on recommendations for employers in Ontario to institute a workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and the public from COVID-19, as well as some considerations for such policies.   

While the provincial government has not mandated vaccination for all workplaces, Ontario’s mandatory proof of vaccine requirement for patrons of certain indoor public settings commenced on September 22, 2021. In the context of these new regimes, the question that has been left for employees and employers alike, is: Who can be exempt from these vaccination policies?