As of June 20, the federal government suspended its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for federal public service workers, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and contractors.
This decision impacts over 160,000 PSAC members. We compiled frequently asked questions to provide PSAC members with everything they need to know on this important issue. This page will be regularly updated to reflect the changing circumstances.
- What happens now that the policy has been suspended?
While members who were placed on leave without pay because of the vaccination policy can return to work with pay since June 20, each agency and department is responsible for developing its own return to work plan.
The suspension of the vaccination policy also puts an end to the accommodation measures that were put in place, as well as all pending accommodation requests.
- Who is affected by the suspension of the vaccination policy?
At this time, all core public administration employees, as well as Royal Canadian Mounted Police, contractors and suppliers, and people appointed by the Governor in Council. The Chief of Defense Staff is also expected to announce its decision on the suspension of vaccination requirements for the Canadian Armed Forces.
However, the government asked crown corporation and separate agencies to also revise their vaccination policies.
- Can my employer still ask me for my vaccination status?
Yes. The federal government’s vaccination policy, which states that employees are responsible for disclosing their vaccination status and testing status accurately as required, is still in effect.
Ongoing audits and verifications will continue, as will the review of vaccine attestations, which is handled internally by each agency and department.
Employees have the right to medical privacy and any personal health information that is collected, used, or disclosed must comply with applicable privacy laws. Employers should also limit their questions to gather only the information that is strictly necessary.
- Is the vaccination policy permanently suspended?
Because the pandemic is still not over, the federal government reserves the right to reinstate the vaccination policy if the situation worsens. If scientific data show a significant resurgence of COVID-19, whether domestically or internationally, vaccination may be made mandatory again.
PSAC will continue to monitor the situation and represent its members. We will continue to consult with the federal government on its vaccination policy to ensure it reflects the latest public health guidelines while protecting the health and safety of our members and their rights in the workplace.
- Are the policy grievances filed by PSAC regarding members’ vaccination status still active?
Yes. While PSAC continues to support vaccination as a critical public health measure in response to COVID-19, we believe that putting unvaccinated employees on leave without pay is a harsh administrative measure that can be considered disciplinary, and was no longer justified by public health guidelines.
PSAC filed policy grievances on behalf of all members in the federal public service and in certain crown corporations and separate agencies who continued to be put on leave without pay because of their vaccination status.
As part of the remedy, we requested compensation for members who remained on leave without pay because the government failed to revise its policy in a timely way.
We also filed policy grievances for members working remotely, arguing that the federal government’s mandatory vaccination policies to place remote workers on leave without pay constituted an abuse of management authority because remote workers, who had little to no prospect of returning to physical workplaces in the long term, posed no reasonable threat to the health and safety of their workplaces.