NSGEU STATEMENT UPDATE: COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination
The NSGEU has always strongly encouraged its members to get vaccinated to help protect against preventable illnesses, such as influenza, H1N1, and now COVID-19. It is important that we protect ourselves, our loved ones, and the members of the public we serve.
Given the serious health implications associated with COVID-19, the availability of vaccines and the potential serious disruption to any workplace, labour arbitrators would likely determine that vaccine mandates are reasonable for a wide variety of employers. Indeed, more and more employers across Canada have introduced policies requiring their staff be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Recently, in Nova Scotia, several NSGEU employers have begun announcing they will bring in policies.
Some NSGEU members have raised questions about their rights should their employer require them to be vaccinated and whether their employer can require them to disclose if they have been vaccinated.
If an Employer introduces a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, it must comply with a number of important key principles:
- the Union must be consulted and employees informed of the policy before it is implemented so that employees have an opportunity to comply;
- any policies must be reasonable and consistent with the collective agreements in place;
- policies must be clear as to their requirements and consequences of any breach; and,
- policies must be consistently enforced.
In addition, employers have a duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship any employee with a disability or religious objection that prevents them from complying with the policy.
Employer mandates may also offer alternatives to employees who choose not to be vaccinated. For example, they may require regular testing, mandatory Covid education and / or the requirement to mask and distance at all times in the work place.
Labour arbitrators have ruled in the past that where vaccination policies are warranted, it is reasonable for the employer to require proof of vaccination, rather than self-reporting. These rulings point out existing collective agreements allow employers access to some health information for employees to be eligible for benefits like sick leave.
NSGEU strongly advises members whose employer has introduced a valid mandatory vaccine policy to adhere to that policy. Failing to do so could have serious employment implications. If you have questions about mandatory vaccination policies in your workplace, please contact the NSGEU (902-424-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
November 9, 2023
NSGEU is proud to represent many NPs working throughout our healthcare system and want to recognize the important contributions they...
November 6, 2023
Health Care Bargaining Unit Essential Services Process Underway, Unions File Complaint with Labour Board
Your bargaining committee has begun preparations for bargaining for the Health Care bargaining unit. As a result of legislation passed...
October 31, 2023
The NSGEU proudly represents thousands of allied healthcare professionals, working in over 140 different occupations, committed to delivering quality care...
October 16, 2023
We understand some members are having difficulty figuring out what the wage proposals will mean for them. Since there are...
October 13, 2023
From October 16 to 20, we are celebrating Health Support Services Recognition Week. We want to thank you all for...
October 12, 2023
As you are aware, a tentative agreement was reached for your bargaining unit late last night, which is being recommended...
October 12, 2023
Late last night, your Council of Unions’ Bargaining Committee was able to reach a tentative agreement that they are recommending...
October 10, 2023
Health Administrative Professionals: Unions File Application to Resolve Essential Services for NSH; Second Day of Action Tomorrow
Last Thursday, October 5th, Essential Services negotiators for CUPE, NSGEU and Unifor met with the employer for the third time...
September 22, 2023
Thanks to the pressure we have exerted together over the past week, we have been called back to the table...