COVID-19 vaccination is a polarizing subject. There are a lot of people who completely support it, some have concerns, and others are adamantly against getting the vaccine.

should covid vaccines be mandatory?

This situation puts many employers in a difficult situation. You want to keep a safe workplace for your employees, customers, and everyone you interact with on a daily basis. So, should you make vaccines mandatory in your workplace? What happens if an employee refuses? There is a lot of confusion about what you can and cannot do. To date, the federal and provincial governments have not mandated the COVID-19 vaccine.


Can Employers Make a COVID-19 Vaccine Mandatory?

Yes and no. Employers can make vaccines a requirement as part of their company policy. However, if an employee chooses to challenge this requirement in court, it could be found invalid.

“Because the federal and provincial governments have so far refrained from making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory, it’s ‘unlikely’ that workplace policies that do so will stand if tested in court or through arbitration,” says Hermie Abraham, an employment lawyer and the owner of Advocation Professional Corporation on Global News. Mandatory vaccines could be considered a human rights violation.

Vaccine Requirements Can Lead to a Disconnect Between Workers

Taking a hard stance and requiring your employees to get the vaccine can create an issue with some of your workers. There are those who refuse or cannot get a shot. For example, those with medical issues, or those who refuse based on moral or religious grounds. You would have to accommodate these people.

What Can an Employer Do if an Employee Refuses to Get Vaccinated?

“In Canada, if an employee’s choice not to be vaccinated prevented the person from being able to perform core duties of the job, an employer would have to perform a two-step analysis,” Abraham says.

If the employee’s choice not to get vaccinated is based on religious grounds, the employer would have to try to accommodate the employee. For example, allowing them to telecommute or modifying some job duties.

But, if there is no sound solution and the employee has no health or religious ground to refuse vaccination, the employer could lay off the employee.

“There would be what we call ‘a frustration of contract’,” Abraham says. “In such a scenario, employers would likely be able to end the employment contract with limited liability,” she adds.

The question of requiring employees to get vaccinated and the question of vaccines as part of health and safety measures will continue to be a hot-button topic as more and more employees return to the workplace.

Read More About the Impact of COVID-19 on the Workplace

How to Safely Transition Your Employees Back to the Office in the COVID Era

How the End of COVID Will Affect Recruiting in 2021

What Can We Expect From the Post-Pandemic Workplace?



IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm supporting clients across the country. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Executive Search / Board & C-Suite, Technology, Media, Digital & Marketing, Accounting & Finance, Financial Services & Insurance, Cannabis, Startup, Data Science, Consumer, eCommerce & Retail, Operations & HR, Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Engineering, Legal & Professional Services, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Non-Profit & Sustainability, and Sales. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Rhys Metler Sales Recruiter

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a VP, Client Services of IQ PARTNERS‘ Sales practice and leads the SalesForce Search recruitment team. He specializes in prospecting new business relationships, client retention and renewals, and building top performing Sales teams in even the most challenging environments.

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