FAQ: COVID-19 Vaccine

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.

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?

In light of the announcement made October 6, 2021, the Government of Canada requires federal public service employees to be fully vaccinated. In order to demonstrate leadership to other GC departments and to all Canadians, and continue to protect the Defence Team, the CAF will abide by the general spirit of this policy, while ensuring the CAF is situated to meet operational imperatives, through the implementation of the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination and CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination.

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 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 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 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 do we submit our 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.

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All Defence Team Members

Are Defence Team members who work remotely still required to be vaccinated?

Yes. To protect the health and safety of the Defence Team, personnel working from home (remote working) will not be exempt from the requirements of the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination or the Government of Canada Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination.

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

As of November 15, 2021, Defence Team members who are unable to be fully vaccinated (with an approved request for accommodation) and who are required to report to work on-site will require regular screening. Screening kits (self-test kits) will be provided to these Defence Team members.

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.

In the Defence Team messages it states that less than 1 per cent of COVID-19 cases have been among those who were fully protected by the vaccine. Can you please provide a reference/source for this?

All departmental messages communicated to the Defence Team provide official Government of Canada information when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this particular case, the data can be found in the Statement from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada (September 3, 2021). The statement references the following statistic: "Based on the latest data from 11 provinces and territories for the eligible population 12 years or older: From December 14, 2020 to August 14, 2021, 0.04% of fully vaccinated people became infected, with the majority of recent cases and hospitalizations occurring in unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people.”

If exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case, are vaccinated persons 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 persons 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.

Can you please provide information on exemptions based on religion/convictions?

The vast majority of Canadians are eligible to receive the vaccine. In the exceptional case that you are unable to be vaccinated based on a certified medical contraindication, religion, or another prohibited ground for discrimination as defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act, you may request accommodation. Through the Directive on the Duty to Accommodate, the employer has a duty to accommodate individuals’ needs when those needs relate to one or more of the prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act or stem from work-related policies, practices, systems,or procedures that exclude or hinder their full and equal participation in employment, up to the point of undue hardship.

All Defence Team members who are requesting accommodation must inform their manager at the earliest opportunity. Managers of public service employees are to consult with Labour Relations. Your manager, in consultation with Labour Relations (for public servants) and the Chain of Command (for CAF members), will then determine and implement appropriate accommodation measures, if deemed appropriate. Managers will provide temporary mitigation measures for the Defence Team member while gathering relevant information on both the validity of the accommodation requirement and the appropriate measures.

Employees have an obligation to provide true information. 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. Managers can ask for more information at any time.

Employees unable to be fully vaccinated should:

  • At the earliest opportunity, inform their manager of their need for accommodation based on prohibited grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
  • Provide their manager with the accurate information necessary to identify appropriate accommodation, including information on relevant limitations and restrictions.
  • Cooperate and collaborate in good faith with their organization’s representative(s) to find one or more means to accommodate such needs.
  • Notify their manager if their accommodation needs change

Can you please provide information on exemptions based on religion/convictions?

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-19 – Canada.ca), all vaccine candidates must be approved by Health Canada before being administered to anyone in Canada.

I’m on sick leave (colorectal cancer) for an undetermined period of time. What do I need to do with regard to the proof of vaccination status required by October 29 to avoid unpaid leave on November 15?

When you get back from leave, you must familiarize yourself with the new framework and policy. When you return, you will have up to two weeks to declare your vaccination status or submit your accommodation request through GC VATS or other mechanism.

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.

I have an employee seeking an exemption from vaccination based on religion. Please provide specific detailed guidance on what the employee will have to provide to get this exemption.

The vast majority of Canadians are eligible to receive the vaccine. In the exceptional case that you are unable to be vaccinated based on a certified medical contraindication, religion, or another prohibited ground for discrimination as defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act, you may request accommodation. Through the Directive on the Duty to Accommodate, the employer has a duty to accommodate individuals’ needs when those needs relate to one or more of the prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act or stem from work-related policies, practices, systems,?or procedures that exclude or hinder their full and equal participation in employment, up to the point of undue hardship.

All Defence Team members who are requesting accommodation must inform their manager at the earliest opportunity. Managers of public service employees are to consult with Labour Relations. Your manager, in consultation with Labour Relations (for public servants) and the Chain of Command (for CAF members), will then determine and implement appropriate accommodation measures, if deemed appropriate. Managers will provide temporary mitigation measures for the Defence Team member while gathering relevant information on both the validity of the accommodation requirement and the appropriate measures.

Employees have an obligation to provide true information. 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. Managers can ask for more information at any time.

Employees unable to be fully vaccinated should:

  • At the earliest opportunity, inform their manager of their need for accommodation based on prohibited grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
  • Provide their manager with the accurate information necessary to identify appropriate accommodation, including information on relevant limitations and restrictions.
  • Cooperate and collaborate in good faith with their organization’s representative(s) to find one or more means to accommodate such needs.
  • Notify their manager if their accommodation needs change.

Hello, I have had Covid 19 and therefore have the antibodies. Is there a requirement to still have the vaccine? Also, it is against my religious beliefs to take the vaccine due to aborted fetal cells which are part of the contents. What alternatives are there?

The vaccine is still required even if an individual has previously contracted COVID-19. Managers should request a sworn attestation (signed before a commissioner for taking affidavits) containing detailed information about the sincerely held religious belief that prohibits full vaccination. Employees are responsible for providing their manager with the information necessary to identify appropriate accommodation, including information on relevant limitations and restrictions and cooperating and collaborating in good faith with their organization’s representative(s) to find one or more means to accommodate such needs. If duty to accommodate is supported, alternatives may include telework, assignment of other duties, or testing. The belief must be religious in nature (not a personal, moral belief).

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Public Service Employees

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

The health and safety of all public service employees remains a priority for DND. As such, DND has a duty to ensure the health and safety of its employees in the workplace. Vaccines are the best way to bring this pandemic to an end, by protecting employees and their communities by reducing the risk of COVID-19.

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.

As further details unfold, they will be communicated to all Defence Team members.

Under the Government of Canada Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination, what is the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’?

The DND/CAF definition of “fully vaccinated” will be aligned with Health Canada (HC)/Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) requirements, such as those specified for the purpose of inbound international travelers. A detailed definition of “Fully Vaccinated - COVID-19”, can be found in the Government of Canada Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination under Appendix A.

Is this vaccination requirement a temporary or permanent measure?

Treasury Board, in consultation with TBS, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, will review the vaccination policy at a minimum every six months to determine whether it is still required.

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

Contracted personnel who require access to federal government worksites in order to perform work for the Government of Canada must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. While PSPC has contracts in place for its departmental needs and on behalf of other departments, it is important to note that other departments put contracts in place directly with suppliers. To provide a consistent, whole-of-government approach, PSPC will provide information to heads of procurement across government so that they may communicate this requirement with their contractors.

Contractors will be required to submit a certification for all applicable contracts (contracts where they require access to federal government worksites where government employees are present) certifying that any personnel who will access federal government worksites will be fully vaccinated.

Federal government worksites include all places of work under the responsibility of the Government of Canada within Canada where federal government employees are present. Normally, construction sites fall under the custody of the construction manager, so this requirement would not apply. However, there may be instances where construction work is being carried out in an office building that is still occupied, in which case the vaccination requirement would apply.

The vaccination of federal workers and those working in federal buildings will ultimately mean better protection for people accessing service points. As always, public health measures to decrease the risk of COVID-19 must be followed by all persons coming into federal worksites, including maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres, washing hands, wearing masks in common areas indoors or outdoors, and staying home when sick.

I’m already fully vaccinated. What does this mean for me?

DND employees who are already fully vaccinated will need to confirm their vaccination status in the Government of Canada’s Vaccine Attestation Tracking System (GC-VATS) (Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome are the recommended browsers). Here at National Defence, public service employees will start input of attestation information on October 15, 2021. It will only take a few minutes to complete the attestation. DND employees will need to have completed their attestation by October 29, 2021.

Employees and managers will need to be on the DWAN and have a PKI card to access GC-VATS. For employees who do not have the necessary IT assets (e.g. active PKI Card) to access the GC-VATS system, an alternative paper-based attestation method will be available using a PDF form (accessible only via the DWAN). The form will follow the same content and format as the online version.

For attestations received by managers where employees indicate either “fully vaccinated” or “partially vaccinated”, the process is as simple as 1-2-3:

  1. Employee completes the first 4 sections of the attestation form and sign it.
  2. Employee sends the completed and signed form to their manager.
  3. The manager reviews the form for completeness and sends it to P-OTG.VaccineAttest@intern.mil.ca

The positional mailbox team will ensure the attestation is counted for tracking purposes and retained in a secure, Protected B environment (GC Docs).

For attestations received by managers where employees indicate either “unvaccinated and requesting accommodation” or “unvaccinated”, managers are asked to submit the attestation form to the positional mailbox and to cc: their Labor Relations Officer (accessible only via the DWAN).

This will ensure that all managers obtain timely and consistent advice on how to proceed. Through their Labour Relations officer, managers will be able to securely transmit any supporting documentation to the team tasked with ensuring that all attestation-related documentation is securely saved in GC Docs (Protected B).

I’m 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. Remember, in accordance with the Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements, public servants can use “Time off for personal medical and dental appointments” (code 698) for both COVID-19 vaccine appointments. 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, public servants must complete an attestation in 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.

Employees and managers will need to be on the DWAN and have a PKI card to access GC-VATS. For employees who do not have the necessary IT assets (e.g. active PKI Card) to access the GC-VATS system, an alternative paper-based attestation method will be available using a PDF form (accessible only via the DWAN). The form will follow the same content and format as the online version.

For attestations received by managers where employees indicate either “fully vaccinated” or “partially vaccinated”, the process is as simple as 1-2-3:

  1. Employee completes the first 4 sections of the attestation form and sign it.
  2. Employee sends the completed and signed form to their manager.
  3. The manager reviews the form for completeness and sends it to P-OTG.VaccineAttest@intern.mil.ca

The positional mailbox team will ensure the attestation is counted for tracking purposes and retained in a secure, Protected B environment (GC Docs).

For attestations received by managers where employees indicate either “unvaccinated and requesting accommodation” or “unvaccinated”, managers are asked to submit the attestation form to the positional mailbox and to cc: their Labor Relations Officer (accessible only via the DWAN).

This will ensure that all managers obtain timely and consistent advice on how to proceed. Through their Labour Relations officer, managers will be able to securely transmit any supporting documentation to the team tasked with ensuring that all attestation-related documentation is securely saved in GC Docs (Protected B).

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, public servants who refuse to disclose their status or who are unwilling to be vaccinated will be subject to administrative leave without pay. Accommodation measures, including rapid testing, will only be available for employees unable to be fully vaccinated due to prohibited grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

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

All employees will have access to a short training course on COVID-19 that provides the best available Public Health Agency of Canada/Health Canada--endorsed information about vaccines and how they work. This course will be available soon through the Canada School of the Public Service on GC Campus to employees and mandatory for any employees who are unvaccinated, or who have not completed their attestation by October 29.

Do I need to take time off to go get the vaccine? If so, what leave do I use?

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.

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. What supporting documentation is required for me to seek accommodation?

Employees who are unable to be vaccinated based on a prohibited ground as defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act, such as a medical contraindication, may request accommodation. Although the vast majority of Canadians are eligible to receive the vaccine, there are some exceptional cases:

  • Certified Medical Contraindications:
    • The employee must provide documentation from their treating medical physician or nurse practitioner on the grounds for not receiving or for delaying the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • There are few acceptable medical reasons for delaying or not receiving the COVID-19 vaccination (e.g., an allergist/immunologist-confirmed severe allergy or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of its components that cannot be mitigated, or a diagnosed episode of myocarditis/pericarditis after receipt of an mRNA vaccine), as per NACI Recommendations on the Use of Vaccinations.
  • Other Prohibited Grounds:
    • The manager should request an attestation of the details regarding the prohibited ground(s) of discrimination under the CHRA that render the employee unable to be fully vaccinated.

For the purposes of implementation of the vaccination policy and to ensure a consistent application of the criteria that defines when an accommodation may be granted, all requests for exemption and accommodation, must now be decided at the L3 level or above and in consultation with labour relations (accessible only via the DWAN).

Employees are highly encouraged to provide appropriate documentation as soon as possible and before November 15.

As of November 15, 2021, 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.

What is the process for employees who have had one dose by November 15 but are not yet eligible for their second dose?

If a DND employee has received a first dose of a two-dose series, they are required to provide their manager with the date of their first vaccination. If they do not receive and report their second dose within the dosing interval specified by the jurisdiction in which they reside, they will be placed on administrative Leave Without Pay.

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.

What happens if I don’t provide my attestation by the October 29, 2021 deadline? 

The deadline to submit your vaccine attestation or request for accommodation in GC-VATS is October 29, 2021. Unvaccinated employees and employees who have not attested to their vaccination status by the given date will have a 2-week period to attend a COVID-19 vaccination training session available on GcCampus.

Between October 29 and November 14, managers will be responsible to remind employees, in writing, of the consequences of not attesting to their vaccination status, requesting accommodation, or of being unvaccinated. Employees unable to be vaccinated are encouraged to request accommodation no later than October 29, 2021.

What if am non-compliant with the public service vaccination policy after November 15, 2021?

As early as November 15, 2021, administrative leave without pay will apply to federal public servants if:

  • Your L3 manager, in consultation with Labour Relations advisors, has determined that the duty to accommodate does not apply, and you remain unvaccinated; or
  • you are unwilling to be vaccinated; or
  • you are unwilling to attest to your vaccination status.

After this date, employees will be placed on leave without pay and the employer stops assigning employee’s hours of work. The employer will advise employees not to report to work or to not work remotely.

If employees are on leave without pay for a period of five days or longer, they will be temporarily removed from the pay system and they will be issued a record of employment

What if have had only one dose and am only partially vaccinated prior to the October 29 attestation deadline?

Employees who have one dose as of the attestation deadline will have up to 10 weeks after the first dose to receive their second dose.

Employees will either return to the workplace, and undergo mandatory testing, work remotely, or telework once a first dose is received.

If they do not receive their second dose within 10 weeks, they will be placed on leave without pay (leave code 999“LWOP-Other”)

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.

How will requests for accommodations be treated in the workplace?

Whether an employee is worried about receiving a vaccine or worried about working with someone who is not fully vaccinated, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the negative stress they may be experiencing. Approaching employees with empathy and engaging in non-judgmental active listening are key to navigating these sensitive conversations.

If an L3 manager does receive an accommodation request from an employee, the following are recommended measures to be considered in consultation with Labour Relations, if the request is allowed:

  • Performing regular duties or responsibilities through telework supported by a telework agreement as per the Directive on Telework;
  • Assigning alternate duties or responsibilities that can be completed through telework supported by a telework agreement as per the Directive on Telework;
  • Testing as per the Health Canada Testing protocol;
  • Other measures detailed in communication with the employee and documented in the accommodation request.

Generally, other co-workers should not be notified about an employee’s accommodation measure. Vaccine status is private medical information. Since operational requirements are unique to the team being managed, in situations where the measure could affect other employees, the manager must contact their departmental Labour Relations advisors for advice on how to proceed. 

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.

I have a Federal employee who is planning to get vaccinated, but he is waiting for the Novavax vaccine which is currently not available in Canada. How am I able to employ this member until the vaccine becomes available?

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are the two vaccines currently accepted in accordance with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. If the employee has a known allergy to these vaccines, the employee should follow the instructions for seeking a medical exemption.

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 LWOP once they receive the vaccine?

  • If employees want to retain health and dental coverage during the period of LWOP and pay all necessary contributions, there would be no disruption in coverage.
  • If an employee on LWOP wants to terminate health and dental coverage for the LWOP period, plan-specific waiting periods will 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 a three-month waiting period will apply.
    • 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.
    • Employees who cancel their PSDCP coverage at any time while on LWOP can reinstate it when they return to duty. A three-month waiting period will apply.
  • PSMIP - Employer paid coverage
    • An employee who is entitled to employer paid PSMIP coverage, i.e. Basic Life, AD&D, and Dependants’ Life Insurance(s), will continue to be covered during a period of LWOP with premiums paid by the employer. A member insured under the optional insurance provision, Supplementary Life, must arrange to pay premiums directly to the Insurer to maintain coverage while on LWOP.
  • PSMIP - Employee paid coverage
    • An employee not entitled to employer paid PSMIP coverage, Basic Life, Supplementary, AD&D, and Dependants’ Life Insurance(s), will not continue to be covered during a period of LWOP unless the employee pays the premiums directly to the insurer while on LWOP.
    • Note: If an employee fails to remit their life insurance(s) premiums during a period of LWOP, premiums will not be reinstated upon a return to work. To reacquire PSMIP life insurance coverage an application together with suitable medical evidence of insurability to the satisfaction of the insurer is necessary, provided the employee is both actively at work and occupies a PSMIP eligible position.

What happens to the DWAN and D365 accounts of DND public servants who are placed on administrative leave (without pay) due to their COVID-19 vaccination status?

For DND public servants who are placed on leave without pay, due to vaccination policy or otherwise, their system’s accounts (DWAN, D365, etc.) must be disabled as soon as they start their leave. Disabling accounts is the supervisor’s responsibility and is performed via an EITSM service request (for DWAN and D365). In most cases, learning system accounts, such as the Defence Learning Network (DLN) and Canadian School for Public Service (CSPS), should be maintained.

What happens to the DWAN and D365 accounts of contractors who are terminated due to their COVID-19 vaccination status?

Contractors’ accounts are dependent upon their contractual status, managed by the Contracting Authority. In case of a contractor’s termination (due to vaccination policy or otherwise), all DND systems’ accounts must be immediately disabled. Disabling accounts is the Technical Authority’s responsibility and is performed via an EITSM service request (for DWAN and D365).

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

  • If employees want to retain health and dental coverage during the period of LWOP and pay all necessary contributions, there would be no disruption in coverage.
  • If employees on LWOP want to terminate their health and dental coverage for 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 do you 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.
  • PSMIP - Employer paid coverage
    • An employee who is entitled to employer paid PSMIP coverage, i.e. Basic Life, AD&D, and Dependants’ Life Insurance(s), will continue to be covered during a period of LWOP with premiums paid by the employer. A member insured under the optional insurance provision, Supplementary Life, must arrange to pay premiums directly to the Insurer to maintain coverage while on LWOP.
  • PSMIP - Employee paid coverage
    • An employee not entitled to employer paid PSMIP coverage, Basic Life, Supplementary, AD&D, and Dependants’ Life Insurance(s), will not continue to be covered during a period of LWOP unless the employee pays the premiums directly to the insurer while on LWOP.
    • Note: If an employee fails to remit their life insurance(s) premiums during a period of LWOP, coverage will not be reinstated upon a return to work. To reacquire PSMIP life insurance coverage an application with suitable medical evidence of insurability to the satisfaction of the insurer is necessary, provided the employee is both actively at work and occupies a PSMIP eligible position.

Why does the Policy on Vaccination indicate that partially vaccinated employees will be placed on LWOP if they have not received their second dose by 10 weeks after their first dose, if the updated guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) indicates an optimal interval of eight weeks?

(NACI) indicates an optimal interval of eight weeks?

  • NACI has recently updated its guidance on vaccine schedules and indicates that the interval between the first and second doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series that appears to be optimal are:
    • 8 weeks for the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines; and
    • At least 8 weeks for the AstraZeneca Vaxzevria COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Provinces and territories, or local health jurisdictions, may vary in their implementation of this guidance based on local and individual considerations and risks. The 10 week interval set out in the Policy permits sufficient time for employees to receive their second dose at least 8 weeks after their first, while allowing flexibility to account for scheduling or vaccine access, depending on the employee’s location.

Does an employee placed on LWOP for non-compliance with the Policy on Vaccination need to report to their manager any outside employment and activities?

  • In accordance with subsection 4.2.3 of the Directive on Conflict of Interest, persons employed are required to:
    • Report in writing to their deputy head, following their departmental procedures, all outside employment and activities that might give rise to a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in relation to their official duties and responsibilities.
  • The requirements outlined in the Directive on Conflict of Interest apply to all persons employed while they are placed on LWOP, or while they are on any other type of leave (paid or unpaid).

Can Employees on LWOP due to non-compliance with the Policy on Vaccination be granted 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 periods the employee is on leave without pay”. 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.

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.

Is an employee, living in the province of Quebec, who has had a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19, considered partially vaccinated?

  • No, as per the definition from Health Canada, to be considered partially vaccinated an employee must have received 1 dose of a Health Canada authorized vaccine.
  • Additionally, current residents of Quebec are considered fully vaccinated and not partially vaccinated 14 days after they had a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection followed by at least 1 dose of a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

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

  • All federal public servants are encouraged to receive a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible to do so in their province or territory. At this time, the definition of “fully vaccinated” remains as outlined in the Policy. TBS will continue to monitor the situation to determine if the definition requires adjustment based on public health advice.

For existing employees within the CPA, does the employee’s vaccination status need to be validated for every staffing action within their own organization (including acting less than 4 months)?

  • Being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is a condition of employment. In the same way security is checked for every staffing action, the employee’s vaccination status must be verified, as indicated at question G.4 (for internal candidates). It should also be noted that we are presently in a transition period and an employee may be on strength because they’ve received their first vaccination dose or because they are waiting for an accommodation decision. They do not meet the condition of employment until 14 days after they’ve received their second dose or receive a decision that accommodation applies.
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