The federal government announced today that it would mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all federally regulated employees.
As the union representing the scientists who approved the COVID vaccines, PIPSC welcomes all efforts to increase vaccination coverage in Canada. That includes a vaccine policy that makes vaccines more accessible to our members and accommodates legitimate reasons for which an employee may not be vaccinated.
While an employer can’t force employees to get vaccinated, it can encourage vaccination and even make it a condition of work in certain jobs. A blanket policy without the necessary legitimate exceptions, however, will fail.
That’s why we’re working with the government to share our views about what they’ve missed in their proposed policy, so that it can be improved and they can get this right.
We’ve heard from the Treasury Board that they will be releasing their revised draft policy in a few days. This means that we still don’t know important details – including how members who can’t be vaccinated will be accommodated. It also makes it difficult for us to respond to individual member concerns. Our best advice for members who anticipate they will need accommodation is to wait for the policy to be released before seeking union support.
From the moment vaccines were approved, PIPSC has been pushing the government to meet its obligation to provide vaccines to employees in critical positions. At the time, the government passed responsibility to the provinces. Now that it seems more interested in vaccine coverage in federal workplaces, we want to see them adopt our recommendations.
We are also calling on the federal government to continue other measures to reduce exposure to the virus, such as working from home, staggered schedules, and flexibility for family care.