On December 7, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that it will require all federally regulated employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Currently, federal public servants and those employees working in the federally regulated transportation sectors of air, marine and rail, as well as users of such transportation, are subject to mandatory vaccination requirements.
The new requirements will be introduced by way of regulations under the Canada Labour Code. The federal government has stated that it anticipates such regulations will come into effect early in 2022. According to the federal government, the regulations are intended to complement existing occupational health and safety measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.
It is anticipated that the regulations will impose responsibility on employers for ensuring implementation of the new requirements. The government expects such responsibilities will include obtaining proof of vaccination from employees (subject to human rights law) and conducting workplace assessments to determine what preventative measures are required before employees with valid exemptions attend at the workplace.
In BC, most employees are provincially regulated. Banking, telecommunications and interprovincial/international road transportation are among the industries that are federally regulated and accordingly, that will be subject to the new rules. Many First Nations activities are also subject to federal jurisdiction.
We will provide additional details, as they become available.
For questions on this topic or other employment and labour law matters, please contact our Employment & Labour Group.