COVID-19 vaccination requirement for federal public servants

Vaccination is one of the most effective tools we have at our disposal to protect broader public health in the face of COVID-19, and to prevent future outbreaks. Used in combination with preventive public health measures, it offers the best available protection for Canadians.

The Government of Canada has announced that all employees of the Core Public Administration, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), must be vaccinated. This requirement applies whether you are teleworking, working remotely or working on-site. Contracted personnel who require access to federal government worksites in order to perform work for the Government of Canada must also be vaccinated.

As the country’s largest employer, the Government of Canada is leading by example on vaccination to protect the health and safety of public servants and the communities where they live and work.

Vaccination is required

Federal public servants must be fully vaccinated as defined by the policy. The criteria for being considered ‘fully vaccinated’ are based upon guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

For employees returning from a leave of absence, the date by which you must be fully vaccinated is calculated based on the date of your return from leave, and circumstances may require a case-by-case decision.

For employees unable to be vaccinated based on a medical contraindication, religion, or another prohibited ground of discrimination as defined  under the Canadian Human Rights Act, you may request accommodation through the Government of Canada Vaccine Attestation Tracking System (GC-VATS) and must provide supporting documentation to your manager.

As early as November 15, if you are unwilling to be vaccinated or refuse to disclose your status, you will be subject to administrative leave without pay. 

The Government of Canada Vaccine Attestation Tracking System

You are required to submit your attestation through the Government of Canada Vaccine Attestation Tracking System (GC-VATS). The application was developed to facilitate the collection and retention of the data required to track the vaccination status of employees. All data on public servants’ vaccination status is collected in accordance with the Privacy Act and its related instruments.

GC-VATS will launch to organizations in phases.

The deadline to submit your vaccine attestation or request for accommodation in GC-VATS is October 29, 2021.

As early as November 15, 2021, administrative leave without pay will apply if:

  • your manager 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.

You have an obligation to provide a true attestation. 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. Attestations will be audited and managers can ask for proof of vaccination at any time.

Safer work environments and communities

As the largest employer in the country, the Government of Canada is leading by example on vaccination. This important step will help reach the overall levels of vaccination Canada needs to sustain a resilient economic recovery in the face of more transmissible and dangerous COVID-19 variants of concern and help protect the millions of unvaccinated people who are vulnerable to infection.

These plans have been informed by engagement with key stakeholders, including bargaining agents, other employers, operators and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Working abroad

The Vaccination Policy applies to all public servants in the Core Public Administration including internationally based public service employees, with the exception of locally engaged staff at missions abroad. Global Affairs Canada will provide direction for a vaccine requirement for locally engaged staff and other persons who are part of Canada’s diplomatic and consular network abroad, not covered by this policy. 

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