Draft policy states that even telecommuting civil servants should be vaccinated: union leader
Even federal employees who work from home will need to be vaccinated to keep their jobs if the government’s draft policy on mandatory vaccines is upheld, according to a union leader.
StÃ©phane Aubry, vice-president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), says the project, along with other communications between unions and government, suggests that the Treasury Board is leaning towards vaccination a condition of employment.
He says that would mean workers would have to be fully immunized, even if they are working from home or outside the country.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in August, just before calling an election, that his government would make vaccinations mandatory in federally regulated workplaces, including anyone boarding a plane or train.
Since then, Treasury Board officials have worked out the details, in consultation with the unions involved.
Trudeau is due to make a vaccine announcement on Wednesday.
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PIPSC represents 60,000 members, primarily scientists and professionals employed by the federal government, as well as provincial and territorial workers.
“If it were more based on the type of job, it could have been more granular and more specific to those who are frontline workers, who are asked to return to the office,” Aubry said in an interview on Tuesday. .
“Making it a condition of employment would apply to everyone, regardless of where they physically work.”
The Canadian Press has not seen the draft policy or verified its contents.
In a statement Tuesday, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat only said officials have worked on plans to implement the vaccine requirement across the public service and have engaged with bargaining agents and other stakeholders.
The government announced its intention to impose vaccines on the federal workforce on August 13.
After the election, Trudeau said it would be a priority for his re-elected Liberal government.
âThe public service and the unions have been working on it for the past few weeks,â Trudeau said at a press conference on September 28.
The final policy will be subject to government approval.
Aubry said unions were pushing for what kind of accommodations could be made for unvaccinated workers, especially those who cannot receive a vaccine for COVID-19.
They also want to know what will happen to those who choose not to comply.
âDisciplinary loss of salary, loss of jobs, we fear it could happen that way,â he said. “And for those who have a reason, how are they going to provide those reasons why they can’t be vaccinated?” “
Simply making COVID-19 vaccines a condition of employment would also not cover contractors or visitors to federal workplaces, he said.
Several unions have expressed concerns about how the government intends to check the immunization status of employees, and Aubry said he also wanted to know how this confidential health information will be stored.
âIt wouldn’t be the only organization capturing private information, so we would expect them to have procedures behind it,â he said.
Civil service unions have been allowed to comment on the draft and a final version is expected shortly.
All the bargaining agents can do right now is stand up for their members while the government tweaks the final version. It is only after the policy is finalized that unions can file a grievance if they feel their workers are not being treated fairly.