With October 1 and the Saskatchewan government’s COVID-19 vaccination test policy fast approaching, some organizations have weighed what this policy will mean for residents who cannot be fully vaccinated for medical purposes, and those who choose not. do it. .
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The negative test or vaccination test policy was first announced by the provincial government on September 16 to address the rising case rates.
In the month of September, Saskatchewan has seen case rates and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 skyrocket more than ever in the pandemic.
Health officials report daily that the majority of residents who test positive for COVID-19 are not vaccinated.
On Sunday, 72 percent of the new COVID-19 cases reported were residents 12 and older who were not vaccinated.
Due to the increase in cases among the unvaccinated, the provincial government is following in the footsteps of other provinces such as Ontario and Alberta by submitting requirements for proof of vaccination or negative tests for various facilities.
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Where will I have to show proof of vaccination or negative test?
Starting October 1, residents will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 in restaurants (indoor dining room), nightclubs, bars, taverns, and other licensed establishments.
This requirement will also apply to event and entertainment venues, including conference centers, casinos, movie theaters, concert halls, live music venues, museums, and indoor facilities that host ticketed sporting events. Indoor gyms and gyms will also need to see proof of vaccination or negative customer test.
Where will proof of vaccination not be required?
Residents will not need to show proof of vaccination or negative tests in retail stores, including supermarkets, places of worship, fast food restaurants offering takeout and home delivery, health care services, professional or personal services, hotels or other accommodations .
Proof of vaccination will also not be required at facilities that host non-ticketed amateur sporting events, including youth sports and recreational leagues, business meetings, and places of business closed to the general public, unless otherwise directed by the company or employer, meetings private gatherings held in an indoor public residence and private gatherings held in indoor public places such as weddings and funerals.
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Who will be exempt from this policy?
Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the requirement of proof of vaccination and negative test.
In an email to Global News, the health ministry said other exemptions would be determined in consultation with doctors.
“At this time, the Government of Saskatchewan is still working with a variety of stakeholders to determine final guidance regarding a negative test or vaccination test requirement. We will have more details closer to October 1, ”said the Health Ministry.
What does the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission say about politics?
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission has weighed in on the debate over whether vaccine policies are discriminatory or not.
“Vaccine mandates that require proof of vaccination or negative tests are generally allowed under the (Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, 2018)as long as people who cannot be vaccinated due to a characteristic protected by the Code are reasonably accommodated, ”the commission wrote on its website.
The Code does not protect those who object to receiving the vaccine due to personal preferences.
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“A person who chooses not to be vaccinated based on personal preferences is not entitled to accommodation under the Code.”
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission recognized that there are some individuals who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to a reason protected by the Code., as a disability.
“Employers and service providers have a duty to adapt reasonably to them, to the point of suffering undue hardship.”
The human rights commission also explained that the adaptation will differ depending on the case.
“Employers and service providers must balance the duty to adapt with the resulting health and safety risks.”
The testing requirements for COVID-19 “may fulfill the duty to adapt,” the human rights commission added.
For individuals requiring accommodations, they may be required to provide medical information to support the request.
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission added that they will not accept a complaint based on personal objections to vaccines or vaccination mandates.
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Do private companies, such as restaurants or gyms, have a duty to adapt?
In an email sent to Global News, the human rights commission further explained that the duty to adapt “does not necessarily require that a person be exempt from vaccination mandates.”
“Reasonable accommodations must be assessed on an individual basis according to the specific circumstances of the situation.”
There may be some circumstances in which a reasonable accommodation includes accepting a medical exemption. It can also take other forms, such as COVID-19 testing requirements, delivery options, alternative service hours, or remote service delivery.
The accommodation offered may not be perfect or the individual’s preference. When it comes to evaluating an accommodation request, employers and service providers “must balance the duty to adapt with the resulting health and safety risks.”
If granting an accommodation would create undue hardship, an employer or service provider will not be required to do so. For example, if the accommodation created an unacceptable risk to health and safety.
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Is the collection of personal information about vaccination protected by Code?
The collection of information on vaccination status is not protected by the Code. The commission added that when such information is collected, “it constitutes personal health information and must be collected and stored in a manner consistent with privacy legislation.”
Can a letter from my doctor exempt me from the vaccination mandate?
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS) has provided guidance to its members on how to provide supporting documents to people who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons.
CPSS Registrar Dr. Karen Shaw said it is “unfortunate” that across the country, people refer to these documents as exemption letters.
“Doctors are really providing the contraindications for why someone might not get a vaccine,” Shaw said at the Sept. 23 town hall meeting for physicians of the Saskatchewan Health Authority.
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“The doctor is not really exempting anyone from anything. These letters of contraindication cannot be used to exempt them from the rules that exist, be they public health orders or border crossing rules or any other rule that companies can implement ”.
When it comes to providing a letter to a patient, Shaw said doctors should limit it to known contraindications to COVID-19 vaccines.
This can include a severe allergy or anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components that cannot be mitigated, confirmed by a doctor.
A diagnosed episode of myocarditis / pericarditis after receiving an mRNA vaccine is also a recognized contraindication.
Any note or letter must include the reason why a patient cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19, with “an absolute or relative contraindication” and the time frame that would apply, as permanent, for a limited or indeterminate time. “
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