Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will fulfill his election promise today to require that all federal employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Trudeau is expected to announce at a press conference this morning a new mandatory vaccination policy for employees in federally regulated workplaces.
That will include mandatory vaccinations for anyone wanting to board a plane or train in Canada.
The policy is expected to go into effect later this month.
Trudeau promised in August, just before the election was called, that his liberal government would make vaccinations mandatory for federal employees.
Since then, Treasury Board officials have been working out the details, including consequences for workers who refuse to be vaccinated, in consultation with affected unions.
On Tuesday, an executive from one of the unions said a draft policy that has been circulated would require even federal employees who work from home to be fully vaccinated if they want to keep their jobs.
Stephane Aubry, vice president of the Professional Institute of Public Service of Canada, said the government appears to be inclined to make vaccination “a condition of employment” that would apply to everyone, regardless of where they work.
The policy is expected to allow only very limited medical exceptions.
The Trudeau government is also working with the provinces to produce a federal proof of vaccination certificate, or passport, but that is not expected to be part of today’s announcement.
Federal officials say Ottawa cannot create a national vaccine passport that could be used for international travel because all health data in Canada is compiled and stored by provinces and territories.
Trudeau hopes to announce that all federal workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19. #CDNPoli # COVID19 # Covid19vaccine
Mandatory vaccination became a critical wedge issue during last month’s election campaign.
Although she personally supported vaccines, conservative leader Erin O’Toole was the only senior party leader who opposed making them mandatory, arguing that individuals’ personal health decisions should be respected.
Trudeau raised the issue as a matter of showing federal leadership, reinforcing the need for everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and their communities.
He was persecuted throughout the campaign by protesters and supporters of the People’s Party of Canada, who spat profanity and opposed vaccines, which took advantage of the anti-vaccine movement to increase its turnout in the popular vote to nearly five percent.
This Canadian Press report was first published on October 6, 2021.