The federal government has announced that it will propose regulations under Part II of the Canada Labour Code (Code) – Occupational Health and Safety – to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory in all federally-regulated workplaces. It looks to quickly finalize these new regulations so that they are in force as of 2022.
An exemption for Indigenous Governing Bodies and First Nation Band Councils will be made, in recognition of their right of self-determination.
Note that employees in the federal public sector and federally-regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors are already subject to mandatory vaccination.
10 days of paid medical leave
As a response to the pandemic’s impact on employees, the federal government has tabled Bill C-3 which proposes to amend the Code with regard to paid medical leave.
Up until now, in addition to 17 weeks of unpaid medical leave, the Code also provided federally-regulated employees with up to five days of leave to treat an illness or injury, with the first three days being paid if the employee had completed three consecutive months of continuous employment with the employer. Under the proposed amendments, this latter leave will be repealed and employees will instead benefit from 10 days of paid medical leave. Employees will earn one day of paid medical leave after each month of continuous employment, up to a maximum of 10 days per calendar year. Unused days are to be carried over to the next, but proportionally decrease the number of days that can be earned in that calendar year (at all times, an employee can only benefit from 10 paid days of medical leave).
The Bill has passed first reading. The government will soon be consulting with employers and other stakeholders to collect their feedback.
These changes, if passed, will require modifications to workplace policies and collective agreements. We will keep you updated on all developments with regard to these topics.