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As employers implement mandatory vaccination policies, many employees are wondering whether they are obliged to comply with such policies and what repercussions they may legally face if they do not.

Below we explore mandatory vaccination policies and their impact on employees.

Mandatory Vaccination Policies

Many employers are implementing vaccination policies aimed at encouraging their employees to become vaccinated. While the policies vary, they generally require employees to disclose their vaccination status. Where an employee is unvaccinated or refuses to disclose their vaccination, a number of repercussions may be established by the employer, such as:

  • Requirements to complete COVID-19 testing;
  • Requirements to engage in educational training relating to COVID-19; and

It is important to note that some employers have been mandated by the Provincial/Municipal government to impose vaccination policies. In this case, the vaccine policy must meet certain criteria as set out by law/regulations.

For further reading relating to government-imposed vaccination policies, please see our blog Ontario Directive on Vaccine Policies in Health Care Settings.

Are Vaccine Policies the Same as Vaccine Passports?

Vaccine passports generally refer to the mandate in Ontario imposed by the Ford Government that requires certain businesses to verify the vaccination status of their patrons before such patrons can access the business. The vaccine passport mandate does not apply to the relationship between employers and employees.

Vaccine policies, in the context within which are discussed in this blog, refer to policies put in place by employers to determine employee’s vaccination status and to impose implications based on that vaccination status.

I am Worried About the Vaccine Mandate. Can I Refuse to Comply?

We have spoken to employees who are concerned about vaccine policies for two key reasons:

  • Privacy concerns: employees do not wish to disclose personal medical information relating to their vaccination status; or
  • Vaccine concerns: employees do not wish to become vaccinated.

Employees who do not wish to comply with a vaccination policy imposed at their workplace should seek out the advice of legal counsel who can assist the employee with navigating their interactions with their employer to reduce the risk of severe and negative repercussions that could be placed on the employee as a result of their non-compliance.

While employees can refuse to disclose their vaccination status or to become vaccinated, they should be fully informed as to the potential implications of such a decision. Further, the employee should work with the employer to negotiate the best path forward, whether that involves accommodated working arrangements, a temporary leave of absence, or otherwise.

Employers also need to consider human rights and privacy concerns when rolling out vaccination policies. It will therefore be important for employees to have any mandatory vaccination policy reviewed by experienced employment counsel to determine if the policy may be challenged from a privacy or human rights standpoint.

Contact Us For More Information

We encourage you to contact, Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers, for a free call back or flat-rate consultation to better understand your rights and the options available to you in relation to mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace. Please contact us by telephone at 416-214-5111 or here.

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