FAQ: COVID-19 Vaccine

Note: This page has been archived and is no longer in use. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 FAQs, please consult the new Defence Team COVID-19 FAQs web page.

A one-stop information webpage has been created to provide the latest guidance and updates for all Defence Team members regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Please visit COVID-19 Vaccines for Defence Team members.

CAF Members

Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all CAF personnel?

According to the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination and CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, the COVID-19 vaccine serves as a requirement for CAF members to perform work-related duties.

The CAF will implement this Directive 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.

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.

All CAF members, irrespective of their vaccination status, will be permitted to continue accessing the workplace, without additional conditions, until November 15, 2021.

Under the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, what is the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’?

CAF members vaccinated in Canada are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after they have either:

  • Received both doses of an HC authorized vaccine that requires two doses to complete the vaccination series. Mixed dose vaccination series are accepted as long as it aligns with NACI recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines;
  • Received one dose of an HC authorized vaccine that only requires one dose to complete the vaccination series; or
  • For current residents of Quebec only, has had a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection followed by at least one dose of an HC authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

CAF members that have been vaccinated outside of Canada are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after they have either:

  • Received one additional dose of an mRNA vaccine at least 28 days after a complete or incomplete course/series of a non-HC authorized vaccine;
  • Met the definition for fully vaccinated in the jurisdiction in which they currently reside; or
  • Received three doses of any COVID-19 vaccine regardless if they are HC authorized vaccines or non-HC authorized vaccines.

I’m a CAF member and already fully vaccinated. What does this mean for me?

Starting October 8, 2021, CAF members who are fully vaccinated 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).

I’m a CAF member and not fully vaccinated. What does this mean for me?

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 their vaccination status, all CAF Members will be required to provide attestation of their COVID-19 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.

More information can be found in the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination and CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination.

I’m a CAF member and partially vaccinated (single dose). What does this mean for me?

CAF members who become partially vaccinated (single dose) will update their vaccination attestation in MCS – Monitor MASS and will have 10 weeks to receive their second dose in order to comply with the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination.

What will be the career ramifications for any CAF member who refuses the COVID-19 vaccine?

CAF members, whether they telework or not, are expected to be compliant with the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination and CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination by having attested to their fully vaccinated status, or attested to being unable to be vaccinated and having provided acceptable substantiation. CAF members unwilling to comply with the directives may be subject to remedial or alternative administrative measures. A CAF member’s unvaccinated status may have consequential career implications, including loss of opportunities contributing to promotion. Examples include the inability to serve on HMC ships, RCAF aircraft and CA vehicles; and to attend career courses, deployments, domestic and international exercises and OUTCAN postings owing to domestic and international travel restrictions and other nations’ entry requirements. Non-compliance with the directive to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will lead to remedial measures, and continued non-compliance will lead to an Administrative Review and potential release from the CAF.

I’m one of the exceptional cases where I am unable to be vaccinated due to a prohibited ground under the Canadian Human Rights Act. As a CAF member, how do I seek accommodation?

CAF members requiring accommodation under the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination must make their request at the earliest possible opportunity. This will permit supervisors of those individuals the ability to determine and implement appropriate accommodation measures. Supervisors will provide temporary mitigation measures for the member while gathering relevant information on both the validity of the accommodation requirement and the appropriate measures.As indicated in the directive, CAF members who are unable to be vaccinated will provide one of three items:

  1. Forms completed by their personal healthcare providers indicating their certified medical contraindication or disability rendering them unable to be fully vaccinated;
  2. An affidavit containing information about the religious belief that prohibits full vaccination; or
  3. Attestation of the specific information about how the grounds of discrimination under the CHRA render them unable to be fully vaccinated.

Decisions about CAF members’ requested accommodations on religious grounds will be made by a member’s chain of command, with input from the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (RCChS). CAF chaplains have been provided with guidelines to help them determine if reasons for requests for such accommodations qualify as sincerely held religious beliefs.

Accommodation measures for those unable to be vaccinated will be in place by November 15, 2021, and will continue for the duration of the Directive, unless they are required to be revised based on new information presented.

More information can be found in the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination and CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination.

Does the CAF have sufficient COVID-19 vaccines for all eligible CAF members?

Yes, the CAF can source sufficient COVID-19 vaccines for all eligible CAF members.

Will Rangers or short-term Reservists be eligible for vaccination through the CAF when deployed to support communities?

Subject to approval from the Minister of National Defence, CAF designated vaccinations may also be provided to CAF Reserve Force members with less than 180 days of service per year, and Canadian Rangers in accordance with CAF priorities, operational imperatives, and subject to vaccine availability.

Are CAF members permitted to get a vaccine through provincial/territorial health care systems?

The CAF strongly encourages eligible members to receive their vaccination through the CAF health system, accepting that there may be circumstances in which members will receive their vaccination through their provincial or territorial health system. Eligible members that have not yet received their vaccine will be able to receive it through the immunization program at their supporting Health Services Centre.

How is the CAF providing updates on vaccines?

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Forces Health Services has provided regular and timely updates to Defence Team members. This includes up–to-date information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for CAF members.

In the Spring of 2020, the CAF launched a national CAF vaccination campaign and continues to update our members with the latest news through Bases/Wings communications, your chain of command, and the Defence Team COVID-19 Vaccine webpages. Please check the COVID-19 vaccines for Defence Team members web page for updates and information. This website contains a wealth of information related to COVID-19 vaccines for the Defence Team, including FAQs, articles, videos, external links, and DND and CAF social media accounts.

Will military personnel receive official documentation certifying/confirming that they have received the vaccine against COVID-19 for use when travelling domestically or internationally?

If you receive a COVID-19 vaccination from a Canadian Forces Health Service (CFHS) professional, you will be provided with proof of vaccination in your member vaccine booklet, or a card or record sheet, which includes the type of any vaccine administered, the date it was provided and other pertinent details. CAF vaccination booklets, and/or cards or record sheets provided to members when they receive their vaccine through the CAF vaccine clinic is a valid CAF proof of vaccination document and members can show these documents if asked to prove their vaccination status. Vaccination details are also logged into the Canadian Forces Health Information System, where members’ health records are stored.

Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) worked closely with federal, provincial and territorial partners in the development of a national standardized proof of vaccination credential in order to ensure CAF members have a proof of vaccination that will be accepted across the country regardless of the jurisdiction.

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 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 to access non-essential services where vaccination is necessary.

The CAF PVC is intended for CAF members and anyone else the CAF was responsible to vaccinate against COVID-19. This includes CAF Regular Force members and dependents accompanying a CAF member on a posting outside of Canada. In some circumstances others may have received vaccination from the CAF, such as certain public service employees, and these individuals should use the paper proof of vaccination provided at the CAF immunization clinic and follow their provincial, territorial or local public health authority direction to have their vaccination recorded in the civilian system.

Distribution to CAF members began the week of 26 October 2021 and will be automatically sent to members’ DWAN and ECN email addresses. You may receive your PVC on a different date from 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.

For more information on the national proof of vaccination please visit the COVID-19: Proof of vaccination in Canada web page, which includes information on federal and P/T programs, or contact your nearest Canadian Armed Forces Health Services Centre.

If I have both my vaccines and haven’t been near anyone suspected of having COVID-19 can the CAF force me to be tested?

Timely testing is an essential mitigation measure in the fight against COVID-19. The protocol for COVID-19 testing remains the same for Canadian Armed Forces members – a COVID-19 test is administered when there are clinical indications that a test is required, such as the member is displaying COVID-19 symptoms or has been identified as requiring testing through contact tracing.

CAF members are encouraged to use the Public Health Agency of Canada online self-assessment tool and to follow local medical clinics’ advice if they develop symptoms or they think they need to be tested for COVID-19. CAF members can be provided advice by phone when contacting their respective clinic, based on the results of the self-assessment tool.

What if a CAF member misrepresents their COVID-19 vaccination status?

Defence Team members have an obligation to provide a true attestation. Failure to do so would constitute a breach of the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics and could result in disciplinary action under the Code of Service Disciplines and relevant Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAODs).

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Is there a new form that CAF members will sign before being vaccinated which replaces the voluntary consent form since the COVID-19 vaccines will now be mandatory rather than voluntary and are required to maintain employment?

It is important to note that the requirement for COVID-19 immunization for CAF members does not remove the need for consent. CAF members must always give informed consent to medical personnel in order to receive any prevention or treatment, including a vaccine. Informed consent may be given verbally or by signing a form. Members may still chose not be vaccinated and instead accept the administrative implications of that decision.

I was wondering if the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine will be made available for members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Janssen vaccine is approved in Canada; but, like any other product, vaccines are subject to procurement and contractual considerations. The CAF has not obtained supplies of the Janssen vaccine. Guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) favour the mRNA vaccines, such as Moderna COVID-19 vaccine used by the CAF, due to their better effectiveness against infection and illness, and because they are safe.

Based on the latest message received by the Defence team (08 Oct 21), military members have until November 15 to input their vaccination Data and in full compliance by November 15. Does it mean that personnel who have not been vaccinated must have received the 2 doses by 15 Nov 2021?

The attestation period will end 29 October 2021 and implementation of mitigation measures starts on 15 November 2021. Those who are not fully vaccinated by 15 November 2021 will be subject to mitigation until they are fully vaccinated. CAF members who are partially vaccinated (single dose) as of 15 Nov have 10 weeks to receive their second dose to comply with the Directive.

Where in MM can CAF members submit attestations for COVID19?

You can find this new feature in Monitor Mass under > Identification > Health & Fitness > Medical Profile. In order to enter the information and the status of your vaccination a Help files has been developed.

Is there a contact where I can find out whether or not I qualify for the 3rd vaccine dose?

You can contact your nearest Health Services Centre for assistance. In general, all Regular Force members and Reserve Force members on Class B (180+ days) and C service are now eligible to receive a third dose from H Svcs as long as it has been six months since their second dose.

There are very few medical reasons why someone would not be recommended to receive a third dose. Please contact your nearest Health Services Centre for individual advice.

Why has obtaining a booster (3rd dose) of the COVID vaccine not been made mandatory for CAF members ?

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) follows the Public Health Agency of Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization guidelines on the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (also referred to as booster shots). The CAF will also take into consideration the unique operational environments in which we employ and deploy our members.

Currently, third doses are being delivered to all bases and members are able to voluntarily book appointments for their shots based on availability and prioritization.

Will the CAF re-enroll those members released for not complying with the COVID-19 vaccination policy?

As per the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, anyone looking to join or rejoin the CAF will be required to either be fully vaccinated or be willing to get vaccinated.

The fact remains that the unvaccinated are not only more likely to get infected, but are more likely to experience negative outcomes.

The CAF is able to accept a heightened risk of COVID-19 infection among members because over 95% of members have received at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Not only does vaccination make infection less likely, but breakthrough cases have a much lower chance of resulting in serious symptoms.

With QR codes being dropped, when will the unvaccinated be allowed back on CAF bases or into CAF armouries?

Anyone who is not a member of the CAF or a DND employee and requires access to Defence establishments will be required to follow the PHMs as determined by the local Commander. This will vary based on health advice and the local COVID-19 environment, but has a baseline of constant indoor masking and not showing any symptoms of infection.

With the booster shots, can a CAF member who has the two shots deny the booster and still be fully vaccinated according to the CDS policy on COVID-19 vaccination? What are career ramifications if you deny the booster with or without medical exception?

At this time, the CAF defines being fully vaccinated as having two doses. The booster dose can be entered in monitor MASS, however, it is not required to be considered fully vaccinated. At the moment, there are no career ramifications if the third (booster) dose is not received.

Will members forcibly released for refusing the vaccine be reinstated and compensated?

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who voluntarily release or are released following an Administrative Review for failure to abide or adhere to CAF COVID-19 vaccination requirements and policies have the ability to re-apply to the CAF.

As a matter of procedural fairness, all former members seeking re-enrolment in the CAF will be treated and processed like any other applicant. A condition of enrolment in the CAF is that the applicant is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and makes an attestation to such. If at any time an applicant attests to not being vaccinated, refuses to attest to their vaccination status, or is unwilling to be vaccinated, their processing will cease until they are compliant with CAF COVID-19 policies.

In accordance with CAF policies, exemptions for medical and religious beliefs, or any other prohibited grounds of discrimination as defined in the Canadian Human Rights Act, to COVID-19 vaccination are recognized. In such circumstances, applications will be evaluated by the appropriate professionals, on a case by case basis.

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All Defence Team Members

Will on-site testing be available for those unable to be vaccinated but are required to be on site to perform their job?

With the suspension of the Mandatory Vaccination Policy, Rapid Antigen Detection Testing is no longer required for any public service employee, regardless of vaccination status, who are reintegrating or returning to the physical workplace. However, an expanded voluntary RADT program is currently being discussed. Further details to follow.

Has consideration been given to the CAF health system administering a COVID vaccine to civilians (unlike the flu vaccine effort)?

The core mandate of Canadian Forces Health Services is the provision of healthcare to CAF members. Vaccines for civilians are the responsibility of the provincial or territorial health system where they reside.

If I am feeling unwell after getting the vaccine, what type of leave do I use?

Public servants should use their sick leave (Code 210) if they are experiencing side effects after they receive the COVID-19 vaccine. CAF members can request sick leave from their CO for a maximum of two days.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has indicated that Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing is to be stopped as of December 31/21. I have heard that it is changed because PCR cannot differentiate between SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. PCR tests are also known to be unreliable. Will DND/CAF continue to use the PCR test or will another type be used?

PCR is a reliable test to confirm infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It does not confuse this virus with the influenza virus, and the US CDC is not phasing PCR out because of any problems with the test. False information about the reliability of PCR testing has been circulating online. Efforts to protect the Defence Team are done in line with dependable sources of information, such as official guidance from Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). DND/CAF will continue to use the PCR test according to the evidence-based guidelines set out by Canadian public health authorities.

If exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case, are vaccinated people still required to self-isolate for 14-days?

The guidance as to whether an individual is required to quarantine is set by provincial, territorial, or local public health authorities. In general, public health guidance states that fully immunized individuals who come into contact with infected individuals do not have to quarantine, unless they have symptoms. This is consistent with Public Health Agency of Canada's guidance and applies to Department of National Defence workplaces.

Current research, from multiple agencies, indicates people recovered from COVID-19 have a greater and longer-lasting immune response to COVID-19 and its variants, than any vaccine. Will members recovered from COVID-19 be exempt from receiving the vaccine following the tenet of medical necessity?

Advice from public health agencies including the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is consistent: those who have tested positive for COVID-19 should still have a full series of immunization. The CAF is following this approach and a full vaccine series is required even for those who have previously contracted COVID-19. There is some immunity from having had a previous infection, but it is not certain this will protect you from re-infection as well as immunization.

How much time does public health recommend we wait between the first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses?

The minimum wait between doses depends on the vaccine. For Moderna, it’s 21 days. There is no maximum for the time being. Evidence suggests that the longer the wait, the better the protection.

Is it possible to get the Medicago vaccine knowing that the deadline is November 15?

On October 7, 2021, the Medicago vaccine was still awaiting Health Canada’s authorization. As indicated on Public Services and Procurement Canada’s website (Procuring vaccines for COVID-19Canada.ca), all vaccine candidates must be approved by Health Canada before being administered to anyone in Canada.

I have been diagnosed with a heart condition (Aortic Sclerosis) in which my aortic valve is enlarged. As these vaccines do cause the heart to enlarge it would make sense that would put me at a higher risk for my heart to fail if enlarged.

Written documentation is required from your treating medical physician or nurse practitioner on grounds for not receiving or for delaying the COVID-19 vaccine (using the form provided in the framework). The note must specify whether the reason is permanent or time limited. If time limited, the note should indicate how long the limitation is expected to last.

Certified medical contraindications to full vaccination against COVID-19 with an mRNA vaccine are based on recommendation of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. The following are medical contraindications as of September 10, 2021:

  • A history of anaphylaxis after previous administration of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
  • A confirmed allergy to polyethylene glycol (PEG) which is found in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines (note that if a person is allergic to tromethamine which is found in Moderna, they can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech product)
  • Medical reasons for delay of full vaccination against COVID-19 as described by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization as of September 10, 2021 include:
    • A history of myocarditis/pericarditis following the first dose of an mRNA vaccine
    • An immunocompromising condition or medication, waiting to vaccinate when immune response can be maximized (i.e., waiting to vaccinate when immunocompromised state / medication is lower)
    • A medical reason precluding full vaccination against COVID-19 (not covered above) as described. For privacy reasons, the physician or nurse practitioner should only include information related to why the medical reason precludes full vaccination.

If the Johnson & Johnson shot is approved in Canada why can't I get it in Nova Scotia? Some of the hold-outs would probably get vaccinated with this traditional vaccine vice an mRNA "vaccine" that the long-term side effects are unknown

The Janssen vaccine is approved in Canada; but, like any other product, vaccines are subject to procurement and contractual considerations. The CAF has not obtained supplies of the Janssen vaccine. Guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) favour the mRNA vaccines, such as Moderna COVID-19 vaccine used by the CAF, due to their better effectiveness against infection and illness, and because they are safe.

What is the legal basis for the mandatory vaccine order? Has the Canada Labour Code been amended have our employment contracts been amended? If not then this is an unenforceable order.

If you are a CAF member, the vaccination is not mandatory. However, the CDS has elevated the requirements for service making it mandatory to be vaccinated, as stated in a CDS Directive on COVID-19 vaccination. The labour code doesn’t apply to CAF members. For Public Servants, the labour code has been amended, as stated in the Treasury Board Secretariat policy. The purpose of the policy is to amend the Labour code, and it is therefore legally enforceable.

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Public Service Employees

Are DND public service employees mandated to get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

On 14 June 2022, the Government of Canada announced that it is suspending the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for federal employees.

As of 20 June, 2022, employees who were subject to administrative leave without pay (LWOP), as a result of the vaccination policy, may resume regular work duties with pay. Accommodation measures that were put in place as a result of the vaccination policy, including consideration of outstanding requests, will end.

Vaccination continues to be one of the most effective tools to protect Canadians, including younger Canadians, our health care system and our economy. To keep the cases down, everyone in Canada should keep up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses to get ready for the fall.

Is the vaccination requirement for public service employees a temporary or permanent measure?

The Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration has been suspended effective June 20, 2022.

The Policy on Vaccination is being suspended rather than rescinded to allow the Government of Canada the flexibility to easily reinstate the Policy, in the event the epidemiological situation evolves in the future, and an up-to-date vaccination mandate is needed to protect the health and safety of the federal workforce.

What are the directions for contractors who work in Public Service offices alongside public service employees?

On 14 June 2022, the Government of Canada announced that it is suspending the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for federal employees. Similarly, the vaccination requirement for contractors and supplier personnel accessing federal government workplaces will also be suspended.

Will testing replace vaccination for public servants who are unwilling to be vaccinated or to disclose their vaccination status?

No. As early as November 15, 2021, public servants who refused to disclose their status or who were unwilling to be vaccinated were subject to administrative leave without pay. Accommodation measures, including rapid testing, was only available for employees unable to be fully vaccinated due to prohibited grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Testing was not an alternative to vaccination, but rather part of the accommodation measures for those who were unable to be fully vaccinated. Vaccination, used in combination with preventive public health measures, offers the best available protection against COVID-19.

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces continues to carry out a voluntary Rapid Antigen Detection Testing (RADT) program for Defence Team members. Currently, the RADT applies to areas such as Training, Schools, and Operations. However, voluntary RADT will/may be expanded to all workplaces for all L1s and Commands for any DT member who is reintegrating or returning to the physical workplace and would like to participate in the testing program. Further details will follow.

Do I need to take time off to go get the vaccine? If so, what leave do I use as a public service employee?

For public service employees who secure an appointment for the vaccine during the work day, leave with pay for medical/dental appointments (Code 698) should be used. Even if you have to schedule two appointments, one for the first dose and one for the second dose, this does not meet the threshold for “recurring” appointments. Employees do not need to use their sick leave.

How will the privacy of individuals’ health information be ensured? Will the data be tracked centrally or by individual department?

The collection of all personal information from public servants will be done in accordance with the Privacy Act and associated Government of Canada policy instruments. The government engaged the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure privacy considerations were at the forefront of this policy implementation. Aggregate information on attestations and accommodations is kept centrally. Specific accommodation information is limited to those with a need-to-know at the departmental-level.

As per the Privacy Regulations, personal information used in an administrative decision related to this program, including supporting documentation, shall be retained for a period of at least two years after the last administrative action and will follow the disposition standards set out by Library and Archives Canada.

How are required vaccinations and attestations of vaccination supported by the Public Service Values & Ethics?

Public servants have an obligation to provide a true attestation of their vaccination status. Submitting a false statement would constitute a breach of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

By submitting the attestation form, all public servants certify that the statement made and the information disclosed in the attestation are true, complete, correct and in accordance with the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector. It is also understood that if ones vaccination status changes, a new vaccination status attestation must be completed. Attestations will be audited and managers can ask for proof of vaccination at any time.

What if a DND employee misrepresents their COVID-19 vaccination status?

DND employees have an obligation to provide a true attestation. Failure to do so would constitute a breach of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the DND and CF Code of Values and Ethics and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

All attestation information provided by employees is subject to verification and audit. Managers have the right to request proof of vaccination at any time to confirm an employee’s attestation.

Will there be a third vaccine (booster) available to members who want it? Or members who have autoimmune conditions that make them more susceptible to complications if they contract the virus?

Additional doses will be provided according to guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Under these guidelines, persons with moderate or severe immunocompromised conditions are recommended for additional doses. Members whose health condition(s) meet the criteria can receive the addition dose through CAF health services. Members should consult with their clinician if they have questions regarding their status or eligibility for the additional dose. There are also operational or occupational reasons for which an additional dose may be recommended currently. Wider eligibility to include most or all eligible CAF members is expected in the coming months. Information will follow as recommendations from NACI and Public Health Agency of Canada progress.

What is the impact to contributions and benefits under the public sector pension plans (public service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Forces pension plans) for those placed on LWOP?

  • The public sector pension plans have existing provisions for members on LWOP. In general, employer approved LWOP can be pensionable, meaning that the period of service may count in the calculation of the employee’s public service pension, though some exceptions apply.
  • In most situations, contributions for the first 3 months of LWOP continue at a normal single rate. After 3 months, a double rate is applied to those placed on LWOP to cover both the employer and employee contributions.
  • For more complete information regarding LWOP, consult the following links:

Are there limits on how much LWOP may be counted for pension purposes?

  • Yes. The Income Tax Act places restrictions on the total periods of LWOP that can be treated as pensionable during an employee’s career. The maximum permitted is 5 years, excluding sick LWOP. However, an employee may also be credited with an additional three years of LWOP for parenting purposes. The 5-year maximum may also be exceeded for "on-loan" situations where the services of a public service employee are loaned out to another employer.
  • More information on the tax implications of taking a period of LWOP is available in the LWOP Information Package.

What happens to coverage under the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan while on LWOP?

  • Members of the Public Service or Canadian Forces Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan remain covered. Their required contributions under the plan are owed upon their return to work.

What Group Insurance Benefits do members of the core public administration, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police retain while on any authorized LWOP?

  • The group insurance benefit plans have existing provisions for members of the core public administration on LWOP. If a benefit plan member goes on authorized LWOP, they may retain their employer-paid coverage for themselves and their eligible dependants for the first 3 months of any authorize LWOP, meaning the employer continues to pay the employer share as
    • For employees enrolled in the voluntary Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP), coverage continues and missed employee contributions, if any, are collected upon employee’s return to work or termination of employment.
    • The Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP) coverage continues at 100% employer paid.
    • Disability Insurance (DI) or Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP) Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance plan coverage continues. Missed employee premiums are recovered upon a return to work or termination of employment.
    • The Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP) Life insurance plan coverage may continue provided the employee remits the employee share of the premiums to Industrial Alliance directly. The Public Service Pay Centre or relevant Departmental Compensation Office will provide the requisite information to the employee.

What Group Insurance Benefits do members of the core public administration and Royal Canadian Mounted Police continue to retain after the first 3 months of authorized LWOP?

  • In the event an employee remains on an authorized LWOP for more than 3 months, they are responsible both the employee and the employer share of contributions for themselves, and their eligible dependents as follows:
    • For employees enrolled in the voluntary Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP), coverage continues with missed employee and employer contributions collected upon the employee’s return to work or termination of employment.
    • Disability Insurance (DI) or Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance plan coverage continues with the employee being responsible for both the employee and employer share of premiums for the period in excess of 3 months of authorized LWOP. Missed premiums are recovered upon the employee’s return to work or termination of employment.
    • The Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP) coverage can continue if requested in advance with both the employee and employer share of contributions collected quarterly and in advance.
  • The Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP) Life insurance plan coverage may continue provided the employee remits both the employee and employer share of the premiums to Industrial Alliance directly for the period in excess of 3 months of authorized LWOP. The Public Service Pay Centre or relevant Departmental Compensation Office will provide the requisite information to the employee.

How long would it take to reintegrate employees into the various benefits plans following time off on authorized LWOP?

If employees retained health and dental coverage during the period of LWOP and paid all necessary contributions, there would be no disruption in coverage.

If employees on LWOP terminated their health or dental coverage during the LWOP period, plan-specific waiting periods may apply when reintegrating into the group insurance benefit plans as follows:

  • Employees who cancel their PSHCP coverage at any time while on LWOP will not be allowed to reinstate their coverage until they return to work, at which time they will need to reapply. Coverage will start the first day of the fourth month, following receipt of the PSHCP application. To reapply for coverage, visit How to apply for coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan
  • Employees who cancel their PSDCP coverage at any time while on LWOP will have their coverage reinstated on the first of the month following their return to work.
  • Disability insurance (DI) and Long-term disability (LTD) benefits are a term and condition of employment and coverage continues during a LWOP. Premiums are collected upon a return to work.

If an employee’s vacation leave with pay was approved prior to November 15th for a period of time including or after November 15th and the employee is placed on LWOP for non-compliance with the Policy on Vaccination, would they still be entitled to take the vacation leave with pay?

  • Employees are not expected to be eligible to leave with pay during periods where they are on leave without pay. This is consistent with collective agreements which typically provide that “an employee is not entitled to leave with pay during any period which the employee is on leave without pay”. As such, vacation leave that may have been approved prior to the start of a LWOP period will be reinstated for the employee to use at a later date. Please refer to the respective collective agreement and managers can contact their departmental human resources / labour relations advisors for advice and guidance. Corporate HR / LR can contact OCHRO if they need further support.

What leave is to be used when an employee has obtained a positive rapid test result and is awaiting the results from the confirmatory test as directed by the public health authority?

  • The employee must schedule the confirmatory test as soon as possible.
  • If the employee is well enough to continue working and can do so remotely, and the employer can provide remote work no leave is required.
  • The employee may be eligible for “Other Leave with Pay (699)” for the time it takes to get confirmatory testing. Please refer to the “Other Leave with Pay (699)” leave guidance on the Employee illness and leave webpage.
  • If the confirmatory test is positive, the employee would use sick leave in accordance with the use of “Other Leave With Pay (699)” for reasons related to the pandemic in light of the Policy on Vaccination. If the employee is well enough to continue working and can do so remotely, and the employer can provide remote work, no leave is required.

Are federal public servants required to receive a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible to do so?

Vaccination continues to be one of the most effective tools to protect Canadians, including younger Canadians, our health care system and our economy. To keep the cases down, everyone in Canada should keep up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses to get ready for the fall.

Can managers disclose our co-workers’ vaccination statuses to the rest of the team for our protection?

No. An individual’s vaccine status is personal information; accordingly this information may only be used and disclosed in accordance with the Privacy Act. The employer, through the Policy on Vaccination, is aware of the vaccination status of their workforce and will manage the safety of their workplaces and its employees accordingly. As described in DAOD 1002-3, personal information under the control of the DND and the CAF must not, without the consent of the individual to whom it relates, be used by the DND and the CAF except for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the DND and the CAF or a use that is consistent with that purpose; or a purpose for which the information may be disclosed to the DND and the CAF under subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act.

Will those on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) due to the COVID-19 vaccination policy be permitted to return to work? How long does the government plan on holding on to positions for these individuals?

On 14 June 2022, the Government of Canada announced that it is suspending the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for federal employees. As of 20 June 2022, employees who were subject to administrative leave without pay (LWOP), as a result of the vaccination policy, may resume regular work duties with pay. Accommodation measures that were put in place as a result of the vaccination policy, including consideration of outstanding requests, will end.

The Policy on Vaccination was initially implemented to ensure the safety of federal employees. How will the health and wellbeing of vaccinated employees working with unvaccinated employees be maintained while the Policy is suspended?

As it has been the case from the outset of the pandemic, deputy heads have implemented, and regularly reviewed, the necessary preventive measures to mitigate COVID-19 workplace transmission.

Organizations will ensure their Hazard Prevention Program remains up to date and put the appropriate measures in place.

These measures are consistent with the current advice from Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP), and include the use of medical masks, hand hygiene, and physical distancing. PSOHP advice and guidance will adapt based on the evolution of the pandemic.

What will happen to employees who were placed on administrative leave without pay?

Federal public servants who were placed on administrative leave without pay (LWOP), as a result of non-compliance with the Policy on Vaccination, can resume their regular duties with pay as early as June 20, 2022.

What is the impact of the suspending the Policy on Vaccination on accommodation measures and requests?

Effective June 20, 2022, accommodation measures implemented under the Policy, as well as any pending decisions on accommodation requests as a result of the Policy on Vaccination, will end.

Managers must inform employees what impact the suspension of the Policy will have on their current working arrangement, if any. All situations will be managed on a case-by case-basis.

At any time, an employee may request accommodation under the Directive on the Duty to Accommodate by following their organizations’ normal procedures.

Why will the effective date of the Policy suspension be a week after the decision was announced for employees currently on administrative leave without pay to return to work with pay?

Treasury Board Secretariat worked to make this transition period as short as possible, so as to bring employees that have been on LWOP back on strength quickly after the announcement.

During this period, organizations will contact employees on administrative leave without pay and arrange for their return to work, as needed. More specifically, managers will establish contact with employees in question, discuss a return date and other concerns and logistical steps (i.e., accommodation measures, pay, IT account, equipment, building access, and other).

What will happen to ongoing grievances in relation to the policy on vaccination for federal public servants?

The suspension of the Policy on Vaccination for the federal public service will not impact ongoing grievances related to the policy. Grievances will continue to be processed accordingly.

How can a manager help address workplace conflict arising from differing opinions on vaccination amongst team members?

Managers should strive to have healthy, constructive, conversations with their employees. Managers must provide their teams with a psychologically safe space for dialogue that is considered inclusive, respectful and diverse. Managers are encouraged to seek out their organization's Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator (GCintranet) resources, such as, the HR Diversity and Inclusion program and/or the Informal Conflict Management Services.

What if an unvaccinated employee is required to be vaccinated in order to enter another workplace or location to perform their duties?

Managers can contact their organizational human resources/labour relations advisors for advice and guidance. Corporate HR/LR can contact OCHRO if they need further support.

Can employees be granted leave instead of returning at work on June 20, 2022?

Paid or unpaid leave may be granted to allow an employee time to prepare their return such as providing proper notice prior to ending a job, arranging for child or elder care, etc. Leave should be granted, on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the respective collective agreement and terms and conditions of employment. Managers can contact their organizational human resources/labour relations advisors for advice and guidance. Corporate HR/LR can contact OCHRO if they need further support.

What leave code should managers use if employees return to work beyond the effective date?

As of June 20, 2022, no employee should remain on LWOP under the Policy on Vaccination. If an employee needs additional time, they must request another type of leave, as per their collective agreement. Managers must ensure that the leave is updated to reflect the new code (i.e., vacation leave, family related responsibilities leave, LWOP for care of family, etc.).

Will disciplinary measures be used for employees who choose not to return to work, including those who clearly state this intent or who do not respond to communication from their managers?

In most cases, administrative measures will be applied. Employees who do not report to work on June 20, 2022, and have not made alternate arrangements with their manager, will be informed that they are on unauthorized leave from work and will receive notices that consequences, up to and including termination, could apply. Managers should contact their organizational human resources/labour relations advisors for advice and guidance before proceeding.

What actions are required by managers to reinstate employees on administrative LWOP so that they can resume their regular duties with pay?

Managers must establish contact with their employees on LWOP as soon as possible. They must discuss the return from leave date and any other concerns.

Once the return from leave date is confirmed, they must initiate the process to reinstate pay effective the return from leave date.

Activate IT account, provide equipment and reinstate building access.

What should managers do if their employees do not have the necessary tools, equipment, and/or workspace on their return-to-work date?

All efforts should be made to provide the employee with meaningful work while waiting for the necessary tools, equipment, or workspace. Possible options could include alternate tasks, and/or alternate worksites.

Decisions regarding "Other Paid Leave (699)" is to be used in very limited situations and must be made on a case-by-case basis.

Managers must continue to examine individual requests relating to “Other Leave With Pay (699)” in consultation with their Labour Relations Advisor. LR Advisors, can in turn, send questions related to this guidance to the OHCRO COVID-19 mailbox.

Can an employee’s vaccination status be disclosed to colleagues with whom they share physical space?

An employee’s vaccination status is sensitive personal information and cannot be disclosed except in limited and specific circumstances as prescribed by the Privacy Act.

The employer, through the Policy on Vaccination, is aware of the vaccination status of their workforce and will manage the safety of their workplaces and its employees accordingly. This will be achieved without individual employees knowing about the vaccination status of their colleagues.

Employees and managers should consult their ATIP officials for all privacy-related questions.

Will I still be audited for the validity of my vaccine attestation?

The suspension of the Policy does not impact the verification and audit approach organizations have put in place to review and validate employee attestations, the accommodation process, as well as the process for placing employees on leave without pay. The verification process is managed internally by each organization and is undertaken in accordance with the audit principles developed by OCHRO. Organizations will still be required to complete or begin their organizational verification or audit in a timely manner to ensure follow-through on the requirements of the Policy, to ensure a level of confidence in the validity of the attestations using a sample that represents the full period of time the Policy was in effect, and to ensure equity amongst employees in the core public administration.

Employees had the obligation to provide truthful attestations. Making a false statement would constitute a breach of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

What steps do managers need to take to restore IT services for their returning employees?

To restore network access for personnel returning from long-term leave, managers must:

  1. Submit a Modify Network Account (accessible only on the National Defence network) request on the EITSM Self Service Portal, with the following information included:
    1. Required By: Use the date the User returned to work
    2. Additional Information: “Please enable the account for (employee). The employee is at work as of (date). The user has a valid security clearance (Enhanced Reliability or above), as confirmed by their Manager/USS.”
  2. Ensure the returning personnel return a new DWAN Acceptable Use Policy form, and attach a signed copy to the initial EITSM ticket request and email a copy to their Unit Information System Security Officer (ISSO).

Note: Personnel’s laptops and tablets may not connect properly to the network due to a lack of updates. You may need to Report an Incident to your Service Desk (accessible only on the National Defence network) through the EITSM Self Service Portal if this occurs.

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