Backgrounder: Government of Canada suspends mandatory vaccination for federal employees
The Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration (CPA) Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will be suspended as of June 20, 2022. Federal employees of the CPA will no longer be required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment. This follows a review of the current public health situation, notably the evolution of the virus and vaccination rates in Canada.
The policy on COVID-19 vaccination came into effect on October 6, 2021, at a time when vaccination provided an effective occupational health and safety measure by limiting the spread of COVID-19. Today, vaccines continue to provide strong protection against serious illness, and provide a level of protection against infection and transmission of COVID-19 that decreases over time. Layered public health measures in the workplace, such as staying home when sick, improving ventilation, wearing a mask and practising hand hygiene continue to provide effective barriers against the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, and these requirements remain in effect.
As of June 20, 2022:
- Federal public servants who were subject to administrative leave without pay (LWOP), as a result of the vaccination policy, may resume regular work duties with pay.
- Accommodation measures that were put in place as a result of the vaccination policy, will end.
- Consideration of outstanding accommodation requests will end.
- Verification and audits currently underway will continue.
The pandemic is not over yet and there is still the possibility of future resurgence of cases or a new variant of concern. The government will continue to closely monitor domestic and international scientific evidence to assess the need for additional public health measures, including the possible reintroduction of vaccination mandates.
Reported attestations in the Core Public Administration, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as of May 30, 2022:
- 98.5% (279,124) are fully vaccinated as defined in the policy
- 0.3% (740) are partially vaccinated
- 0.3% (773) are unvaccinated
The review and validation of employee attestations will continue and is being managed internally by each federal organization.
Federal employees on administrative leave without pay
As of May 30, 2022, 2,108 federal employees, or less than 2%, were on administrative leave without pay, as a result of declining to disclose their vaccination status or because they were unwilling to be vaccinated with two doses. These employees can now resume regular work duties with pay.
Requests for accommodation
As of May 30, 2022, there were a total of 2,598 requests for accommodations in relation to the policy.
The breakdown of requests was as follows:
- For medical reasons: 654
- For religious reasons: 1,659
- For other reasons: 285
“Other” refers to requests for accommodation based on other prohibited grounds of discrimination as defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act
As of May 30, 2022, 993 requests for accommodation had been deemed eligible and 699 remained under consideration.
The breakdown of accommodations deemed eligible was as follows:
- For medical reasons: 310
- For religious reasons: 642
- For other reasons: 41
With the suspension of the policy on vaccination, accommodation measures that were put in place as a result of the vaccination policy, as well as any reviews of remaining accommodation requests, will end.
Vaccination requirements for contractors, Governor in Council appointees and Crown corporations and separate agencies
When mandatory vaccination for employees of the CPA was announced last fall, Crown corporations and separate agencies followed suit by implementing their own vaccination requirements. They are now being asked to suspend their vaccination requirements. Similarly, the vaccination requirement for supplier personnel accessing federal government workplaces will also be suspended, as will vaccination requirements for Governor in Council appointees.
Importance of COVID-19 vaccination
Ensuring the availability of safe and effective vaccines has allowed over 32 million Canadians to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to better protect themselves and the people around them.
Vaccination continues to be one of the most effective ways to protect against COVID-19, in particular to prevent severe outcomes. The Government of Canada has taken a multi-pronged approach to support COVID-19 vaccination in Canada and continues to strongly support everyone in Canada who is eligible to be up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses. Together with vaccination, individual public health measures continue to be important to help protect one’s health and the health of others, especially people at risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.
- Government of Canada to require vaccination of federal workforce and federally regulated transportation sector
- Prime Minister announces mandatory vaccination for the federal workforce and federally regulated transportation sectors
- Suspension of the vaccine mandates for domestic travellers, transportation workers and federal employees
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