OTTAWA – The House of Commons will require all lawmakers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when they return to work next month, which could exclude some members of parliament from official opposition Conservatives.
Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau narrowly won reelection last month, saying he would insist on vaccine mandates for federal workers, people traveling within the country and his own candidates.
Three of the four opposition parties represented in the House of Commons also support vaccination requirements for lawmakers, but conservatives led by Erin O’Toole oppose the mandates and did not demand that their candidates be vaccinated. So far, the party has refused to say how many of its lawmakers have not been vaccinated.
“People must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to enter the House of Commons,” House Speaker Anthony Rota, a liberal, said in a statement Tuesday night.
The vaccination requirement will apply to everyone entering a House of Commons space, be it a legislator, an aide, an administrator or a journalist, according to the statement.
Spokesmen for O’Toole’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Trudeau is due to speak with O’Toole on Wednesday, according to the prime minister’s office. Trudeau will announce his new cabinet next week and lawmakers are due to return on November 22.
The leader of the government in the House of Commons, Pablo Rodríguez, said that a hybrid meeting model used during the pandemic could be left to allow lawmakers to attend virtually, according to Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
“We support continuing to have hybrid House sessions and continuing to use technology to ensure Parliament continues to function well for all Canadians,” Rodriguez’s spokesman Simon Ross told the CBC.