With vaccines being rolled out across the country, it has become a question on all Canadians’ minds if employers can enforce the mandatory vaccination of their employees.
Howard Levitt spoke to CTV News on January 1, 2020 about the news concerning mandatory vaccines in the workplace.
Rights of Employers
Currently, employers who work with vulnerable populations can absolutely require their employees to take the vaccine. This may include employees in long term care homes and hospitals.
When the vaccine becomes more readily available and public health officials declare they highly recommend obtaining the vaccine, the Courts will likely follow suit and allow employers to require the vaccine for most employees.
This can very well be a term of the employment contract, and if not followed, can become a ground of dismissal.
A mandatory vaccine for employees will also become the new selling point for most businesses.
For example, individuals will be more comfortable enrolling in a long-term care home that mandates the vaccine for all its workers, as opposed to one that will not. The same will be applicable to the grocery stores individuals choose to go to. Ultimately, the public will go where they feel safe, and businesses that do not feel safe to the public, will suffer financially.
Rights of Employees
Employees alike are concerned of the possible affects of the vaccine and may not want to take it. For example, some employees will have allergies and be amongst the population of people who have been recommended not to take the vaccine.
If the vaccine becomes a term of an individual’s employment contract, the only exception for the employee will be an accommodation under the Human Rights legislation of the specific province.
If an employee is afraid of having a minor reaction from the vaccine, that will probably not be enough to be exempt or initiate the employer’s duty to accommodate. On the other hand, if an employee has a disability that can be medically proven, then that will be an exemption.
How the Vaccine Will Change the Workplace
There will be dramatic effects on the workplace.
To begin, most employers are not happy with their employees working from home. Those employers may very well be the first to make the vaccine mandatory and require their employees to return to the physical office.
Employees, who have adjusted to a work at home setting and find themselves more productive at home, will rebel against a mandatory vaccine and a return to work.
This will create the inevitable “tug of war” between employers and employees.
As far as the law is concerned, the law is in favour of the employer who can mandate the vaccine once public health says it is recommended. At that point, there will be more data to reveal the concerned side effects of the vaccine.