COVID-19 vaccines for Defence Team members
COVID-19: The Government of Canada requires federal public service employees be fully vaccinated. This includes the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
In light of the announcement made October 6, 2021, the Government of Canada requires COVID-19 vaccinations for Defence Team public servants (including student, term and casual employees). In accordance with GC direction, the CAF will implement the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination. For those few who are unable to be vaccinated, accommodation or alternative measures may be determined in each situation, to protect broader public health by reducing the risk of COVID-19. As further details unfold, they will be communicated.
All Defence Team members are to continue respecting local public health measures, including mask wearing, physical distancing, and frequent hand washing.
Information on this web page will be updated regularly, please visit often.
All Defence Team members are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
All Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines are effective at reducing the symptoms and severity of the virus. For more information about Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Government of Canada’s Vaccines for COVID-19 web page.
Vaccination will help keep Defence Team members and their families healthy. Vaccination will also help protect vulnerable Canadians, reduce the burden on our health care systems, and ensure that our Force remains operationally ready to be called upon when needed.
On this page
- COVID-19 vaccines for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members
- COVID-19 vaccines for Public Service employees
- Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members
- CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination
- CAF posture on COVID-19 vaccines
- COVID-19’s effect on CAF operations
- CAF vaccination
- What to expect at CAF immunization clinics
- Proof of Vaccination for CAF Members
CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination
As announced on October 6, 2021, the Government of Canada is now requiring federal public service employees to be fully vaccinated. The GC policy does not apply to members of the CAF, however the A/CDS has delivered a Directive to CAF members.
In accordance with GC direction, the CAF will implement the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, starting on October 8, 2021, with an attestation period ending on October 29, 2021 and implementation of the mitigation measures starting on November 15, 2021. This Directive applies to all officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) posted to domestic locations, as well as those on expeditionary operations, exercises, temporary duty, or training outside of Canada. This includes the Regular Force, all Class A, B, and C Reserve Forces, Canadian Rangers, and the Officers of the Cadet Instructors Cadre. Additionally, the CAF COVID-19 Vaccination Policy will be a condition for enrolment into the CAF.
If you are not already fully vaccinated, we advise you to book your appointment as soon as possible. The vast majority of Canadians are eligible to receive the vaccine. In the exceptional case that you are unable to be vaccinated due to a prohibited ground under the Canadian Human Rights Act, such as a medical contraindication, you may request accommodation.
Regardless of vaccination status, starting October 8, 2021, CAF members will need to confirm their vaccination status by October 29, 2021 through a one-time attestation process using MCS – Monitor MASS. CAF members who do not have access to MCS – Monitor MASS, will provide to their supervisor written and signed attestation in paper format, which the supervisor will then ensure is properly entered into the appropriate attestation tracking system. For more information on how to complete your attestation in MCS – Monitor MASS, please consult the bilingual user guide (accessible only via the DWAN).
Between October 29, 2021 and November 14, 2021 inclusively, CAF members who are non-compliant with the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination due to being unwilling to disclose their vaccination status and/or who attest to not be fully vaccinated will be directed to attend a virtual educational seminar provided by healthcare workers on the benefits of COVID-19 vaccinations. From November 15, 2021 and onwards, CAF members unwilling to comply with this Directive may be subject to remedial or alternative administrative measures.
CAF posture on COVID-19 vaccines
2 Field Ambulance Medical Technician, Private Luis Penagos, receives his COVID-19 vaccination at Garrison Petawawa in January 2021.
The provision of health care for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members falls under the National Defence Act to keep members at the height of operational readiness. The Department of National Defence (DND) and the CAF have a responsibility to ensure that eligible military members receive health benefits and services comparable to those provided to other Canadians through provincial and territorial plans and under the Canada Health Act, but tailored to meet operational requirements and members' unique needs.
The CAF COVID-19 immunization campaign is grounded in advice from Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) guidelines and oversight by the Surgeon General of the CAF.
COVID-19’s effect on CAF operations
The virus is an ongoing problem in our communities and is a threat to our units and operations. Outbreaks within the CAF may lead to deployment and tasking cancellations, base/wing/camp lockdowns, and the isolation/quarantine of entire units/deployed sections.
This degrades the CAF’s ability to train and deploy our personnel. Vaccination throughout the Defence Team is vital to maintain operational readiness, and for the CAF to serve at the level expected by Canadians.
With the implementation of the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, CAF members are now required to be fully vaccinated. The intent remains to protect the CAF, and protect others to maintain operational effectiveness as they serve Canada and Canadians at home and abroad.
The Health Canada-approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is available to eligible CAF members from the Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) system through their supporting CAF medical clinic.
Class A and B (less than 180 days) Reserve members can receive their vaccination through their provincial/territorial system.
What to expect at CAF immunization clinics
CAF members will first be informed by a CFHS health care professional about the Health Canada-approved Moderna vaccine. They will then be asked for their consent prior to receiving their vaccination.
On the day of your appointment, you can expect to:
- Receive an information sheet that tells you about the vaccine that will be administered to you
- Have a discussion with the immuniser about your medical conditions and allergies
- Record your vaccination in your needle book and/or after care sheet
- Stay on-site for monitoring after vaccination
- Potentially experience mild side effects
The following video provides CAF members with an overview of the immunization clinic process: What to expect at your COVID-19 vaccine appointment?
Proof of Vaccination for CAF Members
Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who receive a COVID-19 vaccination from the CAF are provided with proof of vaccination. This can be in the form of an entry in a vaccination booklet, a sheet of paper or card, or a digital “passport” with QR-Code. Vaccination details are also logged into the Canadian Forces Health Information System, the CAF electronic health information management system where members’ health records are stored.
Paper or Booklet Immunization Record
The vaccination booklet or other document provided to members at the time there were vaccinated can be used when asked to prove their vaccination status. Public health officials in all Canadian jurisdictions are aware of the appearance of the CAF member’s proof of vaccination.
The authenticity of these documents can be confirmed by comparing them against the following samples, and verifying that the name and service number on the document matches those on the individual’s military identification card.
Military identification card
Two examples of a military identification card that includes name and service number.
A Travel Immunization Record booklet that includes name, Service number, and vaccination details.
International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis
An International Certificate of Vaccination or that includes name, Service number, and vaccination details.
Immunization record (sheet)
An immunization record sheet that includes name, Service number, and vaccination details.
Immunization record (card)
An immunization record card that includes name, Service number, and vaccination details.
Members who are eligible for health care from their province or territory, but received their vaccination from the CAF (such as Reserve Force members), should check with their civilian system or P/T health units to see how vaccines from the CAF can be added to their civilian records.
National Standard Proof of Vaccination (QR code)
The new national standardized proof of vaccination credential (PVC) has been developed by the Government of Canada in partnership with jurisdictions across the country, including the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). This digital PVC is a proof of vaccination that meets national and international standards and will make it easier for CAF members to prove their vaccination status during international travel and when returning to Canada. It can also be used wherever a proof of vaccination is needed, such as domestic travel and to access non-essential services where vaccination is necessary.
The CAF PVC will be issued to vaccinated CAF members. Others for whom the CAF maintained vaccination records, such as many of the dependents accompanying CAF members outside of Canada, may also request it.
Distribution to CAF members began the week of 26 October 2021 and the PVC will be automatically sent to members’ DWAN and ECN email addresses. You may receive your PVC on a different date than your colleagues; distribution to all CAF members may take over a week. The PVC will be automatically generated and sent to you if your medical record indicates that you have received COVID-19 vaccination(s) from the CAF (or registered your vaccination with your supporting Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) health clinic). After you receive the PVC by email, you can forward it to your personal email address so it can be kept on your phone, or it can be printed as needed.
If you don’t have access to DWAN or ECN, the PVC will be automatically created and kept as a file in your medical record. Members (or OUTCAN dependents) who do not have access to DWAN or ECN e-mail may have the PVC sent to a civilian e-mail address. Options are being considered for the most convenient method for you to provide your personal email address. If you have an urgent requirement, please contact your supporting Health Services Centre to arrange to have it sent to you. They will need to confirm your identity. You may contact your supporting CFHS health clinic if you have questions.
If you received your vaccine(s) from another provider, such as a civilian health care facility, you must bring that information to a CFHS health clinic so that it can be entered in your health record; otherwise, a valid PVC cannot be created for you. Your CFHS health clinic may contact the outside provider to verify the details in order to ensure your vaccine record is accurate.
Regular Force members are advised to use the CAF issued PVC whenever proof of vaccination is required. Reg F CAF members (those without provincial or territorial health care cards) should refrain from asking their provincial or territorial system for a proof of vaccination unless that province/territory have indicated that they are providing proof of vaccination to CAF members.
COVID-19 vaccines for Public Service employees
Stay up-to-date on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and vaccine availability in your province or territory!
All Defence Team Public Service employees are required to be vaccinated with any Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. In light of the announcement made October 6, 2021, the Government of Canada is now requiring federal public service employees to be fully vaccinated.
The vast majority of Canadians are eligible to receive the vaccine. In the exceptional case that you are unable to be vaccinated due to a prohibited ground under the Canadian Human Rights Act, such as a medical contraindication, you may request accommodation. Employees unable to be fully vaccinated, (with an approved request for accommodation) and who are required to report to work on-site, will require regular rapid testing.
Regardless of their vaccination status, the new policy requires that DND employees complete an attestation in the Government of Canada’s Vaccine Attestation Tracking System (GC-VATS) (Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome are the recommended browsers) by October 29, 2021. Public servants who do not attest to their vaccination status, or are unwilling to be vaccinated, will be placed on administrative leave without pay as of November 15, 2021.
DND employees who are not already fully vaccinated are advised to book their appointment through their provincial or territorial health system provider as soon as possible. DND Public Service employees and Reserve Force personnel, including Canadian Rangers and Cadet Instructors Cadre, can access their COVID-19 vaccine through their provincial and territorial health care providers.
For Public Service employees who secure an appointment for the vaccine during the work day, leave with pay for medical/dental appointments should be used. Even if you have to schedule two appointments, one for the first dose and one for the second dose, rest assured, this does not meet the threshold for “recurring” appointments, and employees do not need to use their sick leave.
For information on the vaccination rollout plans in the provinces or territories, please refer to the provincial or territorial websites:
A young woman receives a COVID-19 vaccination.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines
- Government of Canada’s Vaccines for COVID-19
- Vaccines for COVID-19: Authorized vaccines (Government of Canada)
Defence Team specific information
- Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 vaccines for the Defence Team
- CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination
- CANFORGEN 149/21 (accessible only via the DWAN)
- National Defence Business Resumption
- COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the federal workforce (Maple Leaf, October 8, 2021)
- DM-A/CDS Message: COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the federal workforce (Maple Leaf, October 7, 2021)
- Government announces it intends to require vaccination for public servants (August 17, 2021)
- DT News interview: MGen Marc Bilodeau, CAF Surgeon General on the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine (April 13, 2021)
- Surgeon General’s message on the COVID-19 vaccine (Maple Leaf, April 7, 2021)
- Guns Out: Vaccine Doses for CAF Personnel (Maple Leaf, January 20, 2021)
- Surgeon General CAF Vaccine Rollout Message (Maple Leaf, January 6, 2021)
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