Treasury Board announces intent to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for public servants

By August 13, 2021COVID-19

Today Treasury Board announced its, “intent to require vaccination as early as the end of September across the federal public service” to help in the fight against COVID-19.

This would extend to employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated, “as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October.”

Treasury Board assured that they, “will engage with key stakeholders, including bargaining agents and transportation sector operators, as we plan for the implementation of these initiatives.”

At announcement time, only one union, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, had responded to Treasury Board’s announcement:

“As the union representing the scientists who approved the COVID-19 vaccines, PIPSC welcomes all efforts to increase vaccination coverage in Canada. That includes a vaccine policy in the federal government that makes vaccines more accessible to our members and accommodates legitimate reasons for which an employee may not be vaccinated.”

– Debi Daviau, President, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

About next steps and how this will work, Treasury Board said that, “details will be communicated as the work unfolds. The process will include determining how this requirement will be implemented, through confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination and other means of protection, such as testing when necessary.”

UPDATE #1 (Friday August 13, 2021; 7:30 p.m.)

A second union, the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), issued a statement:

“CAPE is disappointed by the lack of consultation around this decision and the absence of advance notice. Mandatory vaccination for all federal public service employees will have serious implications and will bring a new level of disruption that would have been better addressed through thoughtful discussions and coordination with unions.”

– Canadian Association of Professional Employees

UPDATE #2 (Friday August 13, 2021; 7:45 p.m.)

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), one of the largest federal public service unions also issued their statement citing privacy concerns and accommodating those who can’t be vaccinated:

“PSAC supports measures to increase vaccination rates, including vaccination requirements for federal public service workers to protect our members, their colleagues, and our communities.

Governments and employers have an obligation to ensure our workplaces are safe for public service workers and Canadians everywhere.

Although we support the goals of the government’s proposal, it’s critical that any eventual plan put forward by the government that would collect or verify the vaccination or medical status of our members respects their legal right to privacy. The government must also provide accommodations for workers who cannot be vaccinated for reasons protected under human rights legislation.

We expect the government to continue consulting with unions on the implementation of their vaccination requirements to safeguard our members’ right to privacy and ensure that their human rights are respected.”

– Public Service Alliance of Canada

Other links:

News release: Government of Canada to require vaccination of federal workforce and federally regulated transportation sector