Government of Canada will require employees in all federally regulated workplaces to be vaccinated against COVID-19
December 7, 2021 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
Vaccination is the best line of defense against COVID-19. It not only protects those who are vaccinated, but it protects vulnerable populations like young children who aren’t yet able to get vaccinated. To finish the fight against COVID-19, protect workers and their families, and ensure businesses can get back up to speed, we need to do everything we can to keep public spaces safe, particularly as we continue to face new variants.
Today the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., announced that the Government of Canada will propose regulations under Part II of the Canada Labour Code to make vaccination mandatory in federally regulated workplaces. These regulations would complement existing occupational health and safety measures, such as masking, handwashing, and physical distancing, and provide further protection against the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. The Government will consult with key stakeholders, including representatives of small and medium-sized employers, as it works expeditiously to finalize the new regulations, which would come into force in early 2022.
The Government will also develop resources to help federally regulated workplaces implement the COVID-19 vaccination requirements in consultation with their workplace health and safety committees or representatives.
Mandatory vaccination requirements are already in place for the public sector, employees working in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors, and travelers on these modes of transportation. The new regulations would ensure that employees in all other federally regulated industries, such as road transportation, telecommunications, and banking, are also vaccinated. Many employers in these and other industries have already made vaccination mandatory for their employees. By doing so, employers and employees are helping to limit the spread of COVID-19 in their workplaces and their communities.
“Canada has led the world on vaccination rates, thanks to Canadians, their belief in science, and their willingness to roll up their sleeves. Making vaccination mandatory across all federally regulated workplaces will protect workers, their families, and their communities. It will help us finish the fight against COVID-19 and help us sustain a strong and stable economic recovery.”
– Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.
“Vaccinations are one of the strongest tools we have in the fight against COVID-19 and in keeping Canadians safe and healthy. Through these requirements we help add an extra layer of protection in federally regulated workplaces. I encourage Canadians who have not yet received a vaccine to book their shot today.”
– Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos
The federally regulated sector is comprised of workplaces from a broad range of industries, including interprovincial air, rail, road, and marine transportation, pipelines, banks, postal and courier services, among others.
There are approximately 18,500 employers in federally regulated industries, including federal Crown corporations, which together employ 955,000 people (about 6% of all employees in Canada). The vast majority (87%) of these people work in companies with 100 or more employees. These figures exclude the federal public service. Including the federal public service, there are approximately 19,000 employers and 1,300,000 employees (about 8.5% of all employees in Canada).
All federal public servants in the Core Public Administration (CPA), including members and reservists of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) must be vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement applies whether employees are teleworking, working remotely or working on-site. More than 95% of employees have attested to being fully vaccinated and approximately 98% have had at least one dose.
Employers who do not comply with their obligations under the Canada Labour Code may be subject to compliance and enforcement measures, including administrative monetary penalties.
In recognition of Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and self-government, Indigenous Governing Bodies and First Nation Band Councils will be exempted from the new requirements. The Government of Canada will work with Indigenous partners to provide information on the new measures should they wish to follow the same approach, however, doing so will be at their discretion. This is also in line with the Government’s commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
A copy of the consultation paper may be requested from the Labour Program by email at EDSC.LAB.SST.POLITIQUES-LAB.OHS.POLICY.ESDC@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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