The Federal Government recently announced its Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Service. NRC will be implementing an identical policy for employees at the National Research Council.
This policy requires that all employees must be fully vaccinated within 4 weeks of the effective date of the Policy or they will be placed on administrative leave without pay until they meet the employer’s vaccination requirement. The requirement to be vaccinated applies whether employees are teleworking, working remotely or working on-site at a federal government facility. NRC is also developing requirements for non-employees accessing NRC facilities and buildings, and for employees who need to access worksites not managed by the NRC.
Those with valid human rights exemptions (for example medical and religious) may be accommodated through means such as telework, rapid testing and increased health and safety requirements. It is our understanding that valid exemptions will be limited and at this time, we have no information on religious exemptions.
The Council will require an attestation (on-line statement from the employee) of vaccination from every employee and may subsequently request proof of vaccination. The employer can request proof of vaccination at any time following the attestation and has indicated there will be severe consequences for any misrepresentations.
We have analyzed the Federal Government’s and NRC’s positions and have confirmed that the policy falls within their legal rights when it comes to ensuring the safety of the workplace. Vaccines available in Canada have been analyzed and approved for use by the general public and there is ample evidence to show they are effective at decreasing your risk of serious illness or death. We strongly encourage all members to get vaccinated if they are able.
The RCEA will review cases of denied accommodation to determine whether grievances should be filed. Please note that we have no authority to approve exemptions or accommodations and can only challenge these once NRC has made a decision. All accommodation requests must go directly to NRC.
If you have questions about this policy, or believe that you should have received an exemption, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All inquiries will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the policy has been followed and whether your collective agreement rights have been respected. NRC has also created a mailbox for questions. This can be accessed at NRC.Vaccines-Vaccins.CNRC@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca