With COVID-19 vaccinations becoming available, what should employers consider when drafting a vaccination policy?

February 2021

Legal Moment on Dave Rocks

Transcript

[phone ringing]
Receptionist: Cohen Highley
Announcer: And now the Cohen Highley Legal Moment on Dave Rocks.
Announcer: I’m with Christian Jannetta from Cohen Highley Lawyers.  With COVID-19 vaccinations becoming available, what should employers consider when drafting a vaccination policy?
Christian Jannetta: Under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers have a duty to take all reasonable precautions to ensure a safe workplace.  The pandemic obviously adds factors to this but the employer’s obligations remain the same.  An employer must ensure not only the safety of its staff but also its customers and clients and must also consider its ability to return to a normal working environment.
Announcer: So can or should an employer require employees to be vaccinated?
Christian Jannetta: It depends on the business.  If employees are efficiently working remotely without contacting each other or the public, then an employer might not have to consider a vaccination policy.  However, if employees working in close quarters or have close contact with customers or clients, the duties imposed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act might mean that a mandatory vaccination policy is justified or even required.  As always, it’s about what is reasonable in the circumstances.
Announcer: Thanks Christian. This has been the Cohen Highley Legal Moment.
[Music]
Singers: Cohen Highley, we’re listening.  cohenhighley.com

Author

Christian practises in the areas of commercial litigation and insolvency law. He obtained his Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto in 2003 and his Bachelor of Laws through Western University in 2006. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2007 and has appeared on behalf of clients before the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice. More →