October 6, 2022

Volume XII, Number 279

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Canadian Government Suspends Vaccination Mandate for Domestic Travel and Federal Workers

On June 14, 2022, the Government of Canada announced that it would suspend vaccination requirements for domestic travelers, certain federally regulated workers, and federal public service employees, effective June 20, 2022. In support of this measure, the government has cited the successful vaccination campaign and low COVID-19 case counts.

Below is a brief overview of the key changes effective as of June 20, 2022.

Air, Rail, and Marine Transportation Sectors

Employers operating in federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors have been required to impose mandatory vaccination policies since October 30, 2021.

Based on the recent announcement, employers in these sectors will no longer need to maintain mandatory vaccination policies for their employees. However, the government’s announcement does not go so far as to require that employers suspend their vaccination policies. In other words, some employers may still choose to keep their policies in effect at this time.

Travel

There will no longer be a vaccination requirement for boarding planes and trains within Canada, meaning that unvaccinated persons will be permitted to travel domestically. It is anticipated that lifting this requirement will reduce bottlenecks causing long lines that impact travel. Vaccination requirements for passengers and crews of cruise ships will continue to remain in effect, however. Accordingly, cruise ship operators will be required to maintain their COVID-19 vaccination requirements for both passengers and crew.

Vaccination requirements for most foreign nationals entering Canada from abroad will remain in place. Vaccination also remains a requirement for entry into Canada for most non-Canadians. The vaccine mandate suspension will not affect masking requirements and other public health measures.

Key Takeaways

When the Government of Canada implemented vaccination mandates, it made clear that as the largest employer in the country it expected its mandates to encourage other employers and industries to establish similar requirements, with the hope that such mandates would become widespread throughout the country. In turn, employers across Canada took the opportunity to review their policies and consider next steps. The same opportunity exists now. With COVID-19 cases decreasing and workplaces gradually opening up, employers may want to examine their policies and practices in light of the vaccine mandate suspension to ensure they are reopening at an optimal pace.

© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 168
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About this Author

Stephen Shore, Ogletree Deakins, Toronto, applications for certification lawyer, collective bargaining attorney
Partner

Stephen Shore is a skilled advocate whose practice is focused on the representation of management in many areas of employment and labour law with particular emphasis on applications for certification, collective bargaining, grievance arbitration, Ontario Labour Relations Board proceedings, human rights, wrongful and constructive dismissal litigation and employment and labour issues in corporate restructuring and transactions.

416-572-2793
Ryan Martin Labour & Employment Attorney Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart Montréal, Canada
Associate

Ryan Martin is a Montreal-based lawyer called to the bar (Quebec) in 2016.

Ryan’s practice focuses exclusively on labour and employment law for both provincially and federally regulated employers. He counsels his clients with respect to dismissals, layoffs, health and safety in the workplace, work related accidents, employment standards, human rights and labour relations. Ryan also reviews and prepares non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements.

Regarded by his clients for his practical and strategic advice, Ryan offers more than just legal advice by...

514-552-9517
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