Mandatory vaccination FAQ

Last Updated: May 20, 2022

General

What is PIPSC’s position on mandatory vaccination?

PIPSC welcomes all efforts to increase vaccination coverage in Canada. The Board of Directors' views the policy as a temporary measure, and with the high vaccination rates achieved across Canada, they are urging the employer to determine when the policy will no longer be required. As provinces ease restrictions, the employer must do the same and allow members on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) to come back to work. Furthermore, the employer needs to ensure appropriate health and safety measures for all members. Read the Board of Director’s full statement.

Will PIPSC represent me if I don’t believe that I should have to be vaccinated?

Personal beliefs are not protected grounds under human rights legislation and, as such, the employer has no legal duty to accommodate in those circumstances.

Prior to filing a grievance, an employee should first seek accommodation as set out in the policy. If your request for accommodation is denied, please fill out our mandatory vaccination help form. We are assessing files on a case by case basis. 

PIPSC filed a policy grievance on Friday, May 13, 2022 against the Mandatory Vaccination Policy for all members of the Core Public Administration including the Royal Mounted Police for all members who remain on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) beyond April 6, 2022. As for all other existing employer mandatory vaccination policies that require review, we are monitoring the timelines. Policy grievances will be filed in due course.

The Treasury Board has failed to substantively review the Mandatory Vaccination policy within the 6-month period required by the policy. They have not amended the policy given the changed circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic since the initial implementation date. 

Full details of the policy grievance are on our website.

Will PIPSC support me if I file a complaint at Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging discrimination based on my personal beliefs?

The union will consider your personal situation to determine whether it gives rise to a grievance or complaint. At this time, there is no support for the notion that personal beliefs are somehow protected by human rights legislation.

I am seeking accommodation but I do not want to disclose my medical or personal information to my manager. What are my options?

In order to receive any accommodation, employees are required to cooperate in the accommodation process by providing documentation required to support their request for accommodation.

 
Core public administration and RCMP members

How do I declare my vaccine attestation?

To submit your vaccine attestation visit the Declare your COVID-19 vaccination status website and follow the instructions. If you are still having trouble, speak with your manager.

My manager denied my request for accommodation. What are my next steps to acquire accommodation?

If your manager denies your request for accommodation, please fill out our mandatory vaccination help form and an employment relations officer will contact you.

Does the mandatory vaccine policy violate my human rights under the Canadian Human Rights Act and/or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Employers are permitted to implement workplace policies that are reasonable and respect workers’ rights under their collective agreement and human rights and privacy legislation.

To the extent that the Treasury Board Policy on COVID-19 vaccination provides adequate accommodation for protected human rights grounds, and that employees’ privacy rights are respected, the employer’s policy does not constitute a violation of human rights.

Individuals can choose whether or not to get vaccinated. The consequences flowing from a refusal to be vaccinated, in this particular workplace context, are of an economic nature, which have not been traditionally found to to be protected by the right to life, liberty and the security of the person guaranteed by section 7 of the Charter. In addition, it is highly likely that, even if a violation of section 7 rights were established, such a measure will be found to be a reasonable infringement pursuant to section 1 of the Charter.

Will PIPSC file a constitutional challenge in response to the policy?

No. PIPSC is not planning to file a constitutional challenge in relation to the employer’s policy.

Can I be put on leave without pay (LWOP) for refusing to disclose my vaccine status?

Yes. If you do not submit your vaccine attestation by October 29, 2021, as per the policy you could be placed on leave without pay as early as November 15, 2021. The Board of Directors is calling on the employer to update the policy and allow all members who were placed on LWOP must be allowed back to work.

PIPSC filed a policy grievance on Friday, May 13, 2022 against the Mandatory Vaccination Policy for all members of the Core Public Administration including the Royal Mounted Police for all members who remain on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) beyond April 6, 2022. As for all other existing employer mandatory vaccination policies that require review, we are monitoring the timelines. Policy grievances will be filed in due course.

The Treasury Board has failed to substantively review the Mandatory Vaccination policy within the 6-month period required by the policy. They have not amended the policy given the changed circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic since the initial implementation date.

Full details about the policy grievance are on our website. 

Can I avoid being put on leave without pay by filing a grievance?

No. Filing a grievance does not prevent the consequences of non-compliance from being applied.

If I am placed on leave without pay, am I entitled to Employment Insurance (EI)?

In most cases, employees who don’t comply with the mandatory vaccination policy won’t be eligible for EI. You would need to contact the EI office directly to have your personal situation assessed for eligibility. 

How will my contributions and benefits under the Public Service Pension Plan be affected if I am placed on leave without pay?

The Public Service Pension Plan has existing provisions for members on leave without pay. In general, employer-approved leave without pay may be pensionable, meaning that the period of service counts in the calculation of the employee’s public service pension, though some exceptions apply.

In most situations, contributions for the first 3 months of leave without pay will continue at a normal rate. After 3 months, contributions are doubled to cover both the employer and employee contributions.

Contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre for more information.

How will my health and other insurance benefits be affected if I am placed on leave without pay?

Members retain their employer-paid coverage for themselves and their eligible dependants for the first 3 months of any authorized leave without pay. That means the employer continues to pay the employer share as follows:

  • For employees enrolled in the voluntary Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP), coverage continues and missed employee contributions, if any, are collected upon employee’s return to work or termination of employment.
  • The Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP) coverage continues at 100% employer paid.
  • Disability Insurance (DI) or Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP) Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance plan coverage continues. Missed employee premiums are recovered upon a return to work or termination of employment.
  • The Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP) Life insurance plan coverage may continue, provided the employee pays the employee share of the premiums to Industrial Alliance directly. The Public Service Pay Centre or relevant Departmental Compensation Office can provide you with information.

If an employee remains on an authorized leave without pay for more than 3 months, they are responsible for both the employee and the employer share of contributions for themselves and their eligible dependents.

On October 29, I’ll only be partially vaccinated. How does the policy apply to me?

In order to comply, partially vaccinated employees need to get their second dose within 10 weeks of the October 29 deadline. Partially vaccinated employees that don’t receive their second dose within those time frames could face consequences starting 10 weeks from the date of their first dose.

For the period during which you’re partially vaccinated, the following temporary measures could be considered by management (in order of priority) to ensure the continued safety of the workplace:

  1. Where operationally feasible, employees will perform regular duties or responsibilities through telework supported by a telework agreement as per the Directive on Telework.
  2. Employees will be assigned alternate duties or responsibilities that can be completed through telework supported by a telework agreement as per the Directive on Telework.
I have received my first vaccination or have booked my first vaccination. What happens next?

Submit your attestation saying that you have received a single vaccination or have your first vaccination date booked. You will then have a period of up to 10 weeks after your first dose to receive your second dose. If you have not received your second dose by the 10-week deadline, you could be placed on leave without pay.

I am currently on leave (for example, parental leave). How does this policy apply to me?

You will have 2 weeks following your return date to provide your vaccination attestation. If you are scheduled to return from leave prior to October 15, 2021, you must provide your vaccine attestation by October 29, 2021.

I am going on leave (for example, parental leave) prior to October 29, 2021. Can I be denied paid leave or top-up allowance?

You are entitled to take leave in accordance with the provisions of your collective agreement.

I work fully remotely. Will I have to submit a vaccine attestation?

Yes. As per the policy, all employees in the core public administration and the RCMP, including those who telework and work fully remotely, are expected to be vaccinated by October 29, 2021.

How long can I be placed on leave without pay?

The policy will be in place for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. A date for review of the policy is scheduled to take place in 6 months. This means that an employee could be placed on leave without pay for at least 6 months. The Board of Directors is calling on the employer to allow all members who were placed on LWOP must be allowed back to work.

The Treasury Board has failed to substantively review the Mandatory Vaccination policy within the 6-month period required by the policy. They have not amended the policy given the changed circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic since the initial implementation date. 

PIPSC filed a policy grievance on Friday, May 13, 2022 against the Mandatory Vaccination Policy for all members of the Core Public Administration including the Royal Mounted Police for all members who remain on Leave Without Pay (LWOP) beyond April 6, 2022. As for all other existing employer mandatory vaccination policies that require review, we are monitoring the timelines. Policy grievances will be filed in due course.

Full details about the policy grievance are on our website.

I cannot afford any risk of side effects from a vaccine because I am responsible for the care of my family who will not be able to support themselves if I become sick. Who will be responsible if I become sick or injured from taking a vaccine and therefore cannot support my family?

For mild symptoms following vaccination, we suggest using sick leave credits or using code 699 to cover absences.

We suggest that anyone who is concerned about side effects of vaccination learn more about the possible side effects of vaccination or consult your primary healthcare provider.

I would like to be vaccinated against COVID-19 but I am waiting for the Novavax vaccine. What should I do?

To be considered fully vaccinated you must have received a vaccine approved by Health Canada.

What does the policy say in regards to possible vaccine boosters?

The policy does not include information on booster vaccines. The policy is set to be reviewed in 6 months time.​​

I am not vaccinated but would be happy to continue wearing a mask and socially distance from my colleagues. Why is this not sufficient?

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent COVID-19. Frequent hand washing, wearing a mask, and physical distancing are not a substitute for vaccination.