Shomporko Online News Desk: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked the country’s top bureaucrat to explore requiring COVID-19 vaccination for government employees and maybe federally controlled businesses.
Trudeau stated in a press conference on Thursday that roughly 80% of Canadians who are “doing their duty” and getting vaccinated should be able to “get back to normal” as time goes on.
“We need to be vaccinated to get through this pandemic,” Trudeau stated in answer to pressing inquiries. “Especially with all the serious worries about the Delta area variation we are confronting, that is striving hardest, clearly, among under-vaccinated and unvaccinated people,” Trudeau said.
“That’s why I’ve asked the Clerk of the Privy Council, who is responsible for the federal public service, to look at mandatory vaccinations for federal employees. And we’re also looking at federally regulated industries to encourage or perhaps even to mandate vaccinations for those industries.”
Federally regulated workplaces include banks, airlines, Crown corporations, broadcasters, and telecommunications companies. They employ nearly one million Canadians across the country.
Approximately 300,000 Canadians also work for the federal public service.
The sentiment appears to track with what is increasingly being offered by officials like Legault as well as leaders in countries like the U.S., France, and Italy.
Vaccination requirements being put into place there appear poised to put the burden of any future restrictions needed to curb outbreaks on those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated, rather than those who have gotten their shots and have a much lower risk of severe outcomes from infection.
Trudeau’s comments also come as Quebec Premier Francois Legault said on Thursday that provinces will move forward with vaccine passports in order for residents to access non-essential services, and as calls grow from medical professionals across the country for mandatory vaccines for health workers.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said getting people vaccinated is important in considering whether to bring people back into workplaces as the Delta variant continues to spread.
“I think the federal government, is a significant workforce, is looking at how we best protect our workforce as well as those around us. So I think everything is being reviewed and examined right now,” she said, noting those conversations are underway.
“It’s really important … if we’re going to have people come back to work, then everyone should get the vaccine.”
The Delta variant of the virus is highly contagious — significantly more so than previous versions of the illness — and its rapid spread has prompted officials to describe COVID-19 as a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
That comes as groups like the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association, and the Ontario Hospital Association have issued calls for vaccines to be required for healthcare workers — a move one employment lawyer said could likely stand up in court if challenged.
“There actually is quite a bit of legal basis to say that employers, if need be, can require vaccinations,” said Malini Vijaykumar, a labor and employment lawyer with Nelligan Law in Ottawa.
She explained that while the law states that employers must make reasonable accommodations for people who do not want to get vaccinated due to religious or medical reasons, she believes that this exemption will not apply to those who simply do not want to.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to Vijaykumar, allows for the restriction of some rights as long as the restrictions are balanced and proportional to the aim.
“First and foremost, you want to prove that you have a legitimate aim, so you can’t just pass a law that reduces Charter rights because you want to,” she added.
“I believe the goal would be quite apparent in this case.”
Source_ the Canadian Press