The federal government announced on Aug. 13 its intent to require vaccination – considered the most effective tool to reduce the risk of COVID-19 – across the federal public service as early as the end of September.
The Aug. 13 statement also noted the federal government “expects” Crown corporations, such as the Royal Canadian Mint, Bank of Canada, Canada Post and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, to mandate vaccinations for their employees.
“The government will work with these employers to ensure this result,” added the statement.
Before the end of October, the government will also require employees in the federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated. The vaccination requirement will also extend to certain travellers, including all commercial air travellers, passengers on interprovincial trains and passengers on large marine vessels with overnight accommodations such as cruise ships.
FEDERAL WORKFORCE STATS
The federal government is Canada’s largest employer with more than 1.2 million workers. As of March 2020, the majority of public servants (173,358, or 57.7 per cent) are located outside the National Capital Region. The country’s federally regulated industries, including federal Crown corporations, includes about 18,500 employers that employ 955,000 employees (6.2 per cent of the Canadian workforce), and the vast majority (87 per cent) work in medium- to large-size firms, typically with 100 or more employees. These numbers exclude the federal public service, which bring the total number of employers to 19,000 and employees to 1.2 million (eight per cent of all workers in Canada).
‘DYNAMIC PUBLIC HEALTH SITUATION’
The recent announcement came in recognition of what the federal officials referred to as a “dynamic public health situation in Canada.”
Since the start of the vaccination campaign in mid-December, less than one per cent of COVID-19 cases have been among people who were fully protected by the vaccine. As of last week, more than 71 per cent of eligible people in Canada are fully vaccinated, and more than 82 per cent have received their first shot; however, more than six million eligible people in Canada remain unvaccinated.
“We know vaccinations are the best way to help protect our fellow Canadians from COVID-19 variants of concern,” said Dominic LeBlanc, the president of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and the federal intergovernmental affairs minister. “We are encouraged by the many federal employees who have already been vaccinated and hope that vaccination rates will continue to climb as the Government of Canada moves ahead on its vaccination strategy.”
The Government of Canada is also calling on all organizations beyond the federally regulated sector to enact their own vaccination strategies, drawing on the advice and guidance available from public health authorities and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.
“There are enough doses in Canada for every person to be fully vaccinated across the country,” said federal health minister Patty Hajdu. “By getting vaccinated, you are protecting yourself, your family and your community. By being fully vaccinated, you are also protecting the safety of your workplaces. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please make a plan to do so.”