29 Sep How will vaccine passports affect the Canadian workplace?
Employers and employees have been made aware that the proof of vaccination mandate will be implemented at many workplaces. Recently, however, there has also been news that a vaccine passport will be created to prove the vaccination status of employees, employers, or clients entering certain establishments. Ontario has stated that the vaccine passport will be initiated on September 22, 2021, and a hard copy will be created for everyone by October 22, 2021. This policy will be required in select businesses, but other workplaces may also choose to implement this policy.
Where will the vaccination passports be required?
Providing your vaccination passport will be required for customers visiting certain establishments. These establishments include entertainment events like concerts, sports games, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, fitness and sporting facilities, casinos etc.
The proof of vaccination is not required for any employee or customers in retail stores, schools (including universities and colleges), visitors and patients of hospitals, government buildings and the justice system, public transit, and places of worship. However, there may be employers or owners of these establishments who wish to implement the proof of vaccination mandate for customers or employees. For example, even though the proof of vaccination policy is not government mandated for universities and colleges, many schools are implementing the proof of vaccination policy and even requiring students to be fully vaccinated before engaging in in-person classes or living on campus. In this case, it is necessary to provide reasonable grounds as to why it is essential for the proof of vaccination policy to be implemented.
What will enforcing this mandate look like at the workplace?
In addition to the concerns about the possible mandate that requires employees to provide proof of vaccination to their employers, many employees are also becoming uneasy about how they will be asked to enforce this mandate with customers. Many employees are apprehensive about this additional responsibility and whether it may take a daily toll on their work obligations.
Ontario seems confident that providing vaccination passports will be integrated into our daily lives, but what happens to those who refuse to provide this information? Employees are concerned with how they will respond to those who decline, especially if hostility or violent behaviour follows. Employees are encouraged to call 911 for police assistance if the situation reaches an extreme level.
Further, employers and employees will be presented with a new responsibility which is to maintain the privacy of all customers. The privacy law states that businesses are not permitted to ask for any additional information exceeding the information on the vaccine passport. This means that when employers or employees are tasked to request proof of vaccination, it should only be to seek the vaccination status for reasons only pertaining to this particular purpose.
If you have any questions about how the implementation of the vaccination passport will affect you as an employer or employee, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.