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 announced on October 6, 2021 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.

Separate employers, including Crown corporations and separate agencies are implementing vaccine policies that align with the requirements announced on October 6 for the rest of the public service.

Vaccination is required

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

The definition of fully vaccinated is found in the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination.

If you are 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.

If you are unable to be vaccinated based on a medical contraindication, religion or another prohibited ground of discrimination  under the Canadian Human Rights Act, you may request accommodation and should provide supporting information to your manager.

If you are unwilling to be vaccinated or refuse to disclose your status, you will be subject to administrative leave without pay.

Disclosing your vaccination status

You are required to submit your attestation of your vaccination status 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.

If you are returning from a leave of absence, you are required to submit your attestation within two weeks after the date of your return.

If you are unable to access GC-VATS, you may complete your attestation through an alternative process, either by:

  • completing a manual form, or
  • email, which must contain all required information

Speak to your manager as soon as possible if you require an alternative attestation process, for more information on the process and to receive the appropriate form.

Administrative leave without pay will apply if:

  • you are unwilling to be vaccinated, or
  • you are unwilling to attest to your vaccination status, or
  • your manager has determined that the duty to accommodate does not apply, and you remain unvaccinated

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.  All attestation information is subject to verification. Managers have the right to request proof of vaccination at any time to confirm your attestation, and it must be in a format that is recognized federally, provincially, or territorially.

Working abroad

The Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination 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 is providing 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. 

Safer work environments and communities

As the country’s largest employer, the Government of Canada is leading by example to further protect the health and safety of public servants.

Having a fully vaccinated workforce means that not only are worksites safer, so are the communities where this large population lives and works. It also means better protection for Canadians accessing government services in person.

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