Apr 14, 2021
As increasing numbers of Canadians register to receive their COVID-19 vaccine, many employers are wondering if they have the right to know if their workers have been vaccinated or not.
In a recent article published by Canadian Underwriter, the publication’s associate editor, Greg Meckbach, spoke with Osler’s Adam LaRoche.
“If you are going to require employees to disclose their vaccination status, you need to consider the nature of the workplace,” says Adam, an associate with the firm’s Employment and Labour and Privacy and Data Management practices.
When considering the issue, Adam says employers should weigh several factors before they ask workers whether they have received the vaccine or not.
“In a general office, requiring employees to disclose their vaccination status may or may not be reasonable, but in a workplace with higher risk of transmission, to effectively manage the employment relationship — like a meat packing plant for example — you have a much better case [for collecting data on workers’ vaccine status].”
The article concludes with Adam noting that employers have a general obligation to maintain a safe workplace.
“I think it is probably doubtful that the general obligation (to maintain a safe workplace) extends to permitting or requiring employers to require employees to disclose vaccination status without the consent of that employee,” said Adam, who is licensed to practise law in both Alberta and British Columbia.
As of April 9, about 2% of Canada’s population have been fully vaccinated, according to The Canadian Press.
Read Greg Meckbach’s full article, “Etiquette for asking if your employees are vaccinated,” published April 9, 2021 in Canadian Underwriter.