The answer is, “It Depends”
With vaccination becoming an option for more and more individuals, this issue is front of mind for many of our clients.
Business owners must balance the need for a healthy and safe workplace with an employee’s human rights. There must be a legitimate health and safety risk and mandatory employee vaccinations must be the best option to address this risk.
Even with these considerations, the business must be prepared to make exceptions. For example, an employee may refuse vaccination based on one of the protected grounds under the Human Rights Code such as a disability or religious reasons. The business owner would then have the duty to accommodation to the point of undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation would be to have the employee work from home until returning to the workplace was no longer a risk (i.e. the pandemic is declared to be over).
Businesses that intend to implement mandatory vaccinations must have a written policy. The policy should cover exceptions, exemptions, refusals, treatment of medical / personal information, etc.
Let us know if we can help with this or any new and unusual employee situations that you may be facing as a result of the pandemic.