Backgrounder: COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the federal workforce


Under a new policy, 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. The requirement for employees to be vaccinated applies whether they are teleworking, working remotely, or on-site. Contracted personnel who require access to federal government worksites will also need to be vaccinated.

As early as November 15, public servants who refuse to disclose their status or who are unwilling to be fully vaccinated will be placed on administrative leave without pay. 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.

The Core Public Administration comprises departments and organizations named in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act. The vaccine requirement includes workers and those providing services within the CPA including the RCMP, comprising more than 267 000 employees.

Starting October 6, 2021, employees will be onboarded in phases to provide their vaccine attestation through a secure online system, and they must do so by October 29, 2021.

Employees have an obligation to provide true attestations. Making 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.

The collection of all personal information from public servants will be done in accordance with the Privacy Act, the Policy on Privacy Protection and its related instruments. Data on vaccination rates within the federal public service is expected to be available in the coming weeks.

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

Vaccination policies for Crown corporations and Separate agencies
Crown corporations and separate agencies are being asked to implement vaccine policies mirroring the requirements announced on October 6 for the rest of the public service. The Acting Chief of the Defence Staff will also issue a directive requiring vaccination for the Canadian Armed Forces.

Key dates
October 29:
attestation deadline for public servants, including members and reservists of the RCMP

As early as November 15: public servants who refuse to disclose their status or who are unwilling to be vaccinated will be placed on administrative leave without pay

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