# 2022-078 Careers, COVID-19


Case summary

F&R Date: 2023-05-30

The grievor received remedial measures (RM) and was released from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as a result of non-compliance with the CAF COVID-19 vaccination policy. The grievor argued that there were reasonable and practicable alternatives to mandatory vaccination and that taking administrative actions against unvaccinated members would have an impact on operational effectiveness.  

There was no Initial Authority decision because the grievance was related to a decision, act or omission of the Chief of the Defence Staff.

The Committee conducted an in-depth analysis of whether the CAF vaccination policy infringed on the protected rights under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter), namely the right to liberty and security of the person. The Committee concluded that the policy infringed on the rights protected under Section 7 of the Charter and that the limitations of these rights were not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.  The Committee viewed some aspects of the policy as arbitrary and overly broad, and its implementation as disproportionate. This led to a full analysis of whether such limitations are justified under Section 1 of the Charter. 

With a high vaccination rate within the CAF, the Committee found the CAF had not shown that consideration of the public interest justified the overly broad and disproportionate implementation of the vaccination policy nor shown any regard for the members' occupation, duties and place of work. 

The Committee concluded that the CAF had not met its obligation to ensure minimal impairment in the implementation of its vaccination policy. The Committee concluded that the limitations were not justified under Section 1 of the Charter.  

Additionally, the Committee found that the administrative actions against the grievor, namely the RM and release, should not have occurred as the grievor was exercising a protected Charter right. The Committee also found that the administrative actions were unreasonable due to serious breaches of procedural fairness.  

The Committee recommended that the Final Authority cancel the RM and facilitate the grievor's re-enrolment in the CAF, if the grievor so desired and was eligible. The Committee also recommended that consideration be given to compensation for unjust release.  

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