COVID-19 Vaccinations and Your Staff: Top 5 Legal Q&As

Colin Edstrom, employment lawyer at Pushor Mitchell LLP, answers the top five questions from employers and and their staff about COVID-19 vaccinations.
Categories: Employee Benefits
Apr 28th, 2021 | By: CapriCMW

With the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations underway across Canada, employers are wondering how best to handle the issue internally. While most of us are looking for a safer workplace environment, encouraging your staff to get vaccinated might not be as simple, from a legal perspective, says Colin Edstrom, workplace lawyer at Pushor Mitchell LLP.

“Vaccines in the workplace engages many different areas of law,” he says. “This includes privacy law, human rights law, occupational health & safety (OH&S) and common law or employment/collective agreements.” While provincial governments have announced they will not be mandating the COVID-19 vaccine, Edstrom says he has been inundated with questions from employers and their staff.

Below, Edstrom answers some of these burning questions…

Top 5 Legal Q&As:

Q: CAN I COMPEL MY EMPLOYEES TO GET VACCINATED?

A: Very unlikely, regardless of industry. However, in certain cases, “vaccinate or mask” or testing policies may be appropriate. Your business needs to consider whether employees are in a safety sensitive workplace where they’re exposed to vulnerable individuals (like healthcare). Also consider employer liability if a staff member has an adverse reaction.

Q: WILL EMPLOYEES STILL HAVE TO WEAR MASKS AFTER VACCINATION?

A: Yes, masks are currently mandatory across Canada in workplaces and indoor settings.

Q: WHAT IF A STAFF MEMBER REFUSES TO WEAR A MASK AFTER VACCINATION?

A: Employees must follow OH&S guidelines and masks are currently mandatory.

Q: DO MY STAFF NEED TO TELL ME IF THEY GET VACCINATED?

A: If a valid vaccination policy is in place (for example for health care workers), then yes. Otherwise, it’s unlikely they need to disclose this as it could be seen as an unreasonable intrusion into an individual’s privacy.

Q: CAN MY STAFF REFUSE TO WORK WITH UNVACCINATED EMPLOYEES?

A: Under OH&S legislation, it’s very unlikely. While employees have the right to refuse unsafe work, if your business is following proper OH&S protocols it’s not considered an unsafe environment.

This content is powered by the Canadian Broker Network.

CBN_logo-250.png

CapriCMW is a proud member of the Canadian Broker Network (CBN), an alliance of Canada’s leading independent insurance brokerages representing over 50 offices, 1,500 professionals and over $1 billion in premiums. Learn more at canadianbrokernetwork.com.

Recent Blog Posts

Personal Insurance / ICBC, auto insurance
New ICBC Coverages Explained: Income Replacement vs. Income Top-Up

As of May 1, 2021, ICBC's new Enhanced Care coverage is in effect which has introduced significant…

Jun 15th, 2021 | By: CapriCMW
Employee Benefits / COVID-19
Federal Government Introduces Canada Recovery Hiring Program

The new Canada Recovery Hiring Program is designed to support employers by subsidizing payroll…

Jun 9th, 2021 | By: CapriCMW
Employee Benefits / employment law, COVID-19
Government of BC Introduces COVID-19 Related Paid Sick Leave

As of May 20, 2021, amendments to BC's Employment Standards Act are in effect which provides paid…

May 26th, 2021 | By: CapriCMW
Search the Blog
photo-10.jpg

Confidence and Freedom

At CapriCMW, we provide personalized insurance and custom risk solutions to give you the confidence and freedom to focus on what matters to you. Talk to an Advisor or get a quote today.

Get a Quote    Or call 1-800-670-1877

Can’t find what you are looking for? Ask us!