1. Identify the scope and purpose.
Explain purpose of the policy including the risks of COVID-19.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is one of the best ways to protect workers. The
Delta variant of the coronavirus is more contagious, with greater risk for
severe illness and hospitalization.
Explain who the policy applies to. Will the policy apply to
all workers, contractors, and/or agency staff? Is there a separate policy for
Have a clear communication plan to inform workers about the
2. List action steps workers must take.
When necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, workplace
policies should require workers to provide proof of vaccination, with vaccines
approved by Health Canada or the World Health Organization. Alternatively,
workers may need to:
Indicate that they have a medical exemption, including if the
reasons are temporary or permanent. The medical exemption should be written by
a licenced doctor or nurse practitioner and does not need to include the reason
for the exemption.
Complete a vaccination education course, with a signed
declaration stating that they understand the risks of COVID-19 and the benefits
of vaccination. The vaccination education course should include information on:
- How the COVID-19 vaccines work;
- Vaccine safety related to the development of the COVID-19 vaccines;
- The benefits of vaccination against COVID-19;
- Risks of not being vaccinated against COVID-19; and
- Possible side effects of COVID-19 vaccination.
3. Set deadlines for when the actions must be taken.
Specify a reasonable date when workers must demonstrate
compliance with the workplace policy.
4. List available supports for vaccination.
Demonstrate your commitment to supporting workers to get
vaccinated. Ways to support workers to get vaccinated include:
- Providing vaccine information from credible sources or translated resources
- Supporting vaccine champions to initiate conversations with their peers
- Providing paid leave to get vaccinated
- Reminding workers that they are entitled to up to three paid sick days, if they have side effects from the vaccine
- Offering incentives such as gift cards, prizes or company swag
- Hosting an on-site vaccination clinic
5. Provisions for Unvaccinated Workers
- Your policy should list alternative options for workers who decline to get vaccinated for reasons protected by the Human Rights Act, or who are unable to complete their vaccination series for medical reasons. Some options to consider include:
- Use of additional PPE, frequent COVID-19 testing, worker relocation, and modified work or reassignments.
- In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers (who have only received one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series) are not be permitted to work in the outbreak area. Workers without vaccination records should be assumed to be unvaccinated.
- If reassignment is not possible, consider if unvaccinated workers may use vacation or unpaid leave until it is safe for them to return to the workplace.
Outline the potential consequences for workers who do not
fulfill the requirements of the policy.
7. Privacy considerations
The policy should specify how individual vaccination status
of employees will be used by employers to mitigate the health-related risks of
Information about workers’ vaccination information must be
protected in accordance with applicable privacy legislation. Knowing your
workers’ vaccination status may be important to help you take appropriate
action quickly, in the event of COVID-19 cases in your workplace, to protect
employees, their families, and the general public.
When collecting information about a worker’s vaccination
- Identify ways to safeguard workers’ personal health information.
- Limit information collected to the worker’s name and date of vaccination for each dose.
- Keep worker vaccination information separate from their personnel file.
- Ensure personal health/vaccination information is kept in a secure manner and only used when required.
8. Staff contact
Identify who at your organization staff should contact with
questions about the policy, to request accommodation, or for more information
how to comply with the policy. The policy should also indicate the person to
whom workers should provide proof of vaccination.