On December 11, 2020, the CBC published an article titled Can employers make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory? The law isn’t clear. The subtitle makes it clear this is an article about the authoritarian agenda: “With vaccines set to arrive within days, talk has turned to mandatory immunization and ‘vaccine passports”. Let’s see what CBC’s own parliamentary correspondent’s point of view is.
So far, most premiers have ruled out compelling all citizens to get a shot. Based on recent polling, a sizeable minority of Canadians — up to 18 per cent of those surveyed — have said they will refuse to be vaccinated and provinces aren’t spoiling for a fight during a mass immunization campaign.
Since all people have a right to bodily autonomy, it is well they do not attempt forced vaccination. I’m fairly pro-vaccine–I got a flu shot this year–but if the state tried to force me to take a new vaccine, I would be less likely to do so. If the vaccine can’t stand on its merits, as the flu vaccine does, and the state feels impelled to force me to take it, it makes me suspicious that there are dangerous side effects.
But in the absence of a provincial decree, some employers are now seeking legal opinions on whether they can demand that staff and customers be vaccinated before allowing them to enter their workplaces.
Unless a company is violating its employment contracts, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be allowed to require staff to take the vaccine. Anyone who doesn’t agree can simply walk away. The same is certainly true of customers. If a business doesn’t want my business for any reason, I will look for an another who does.
Neena Gupta, a labour lawyer at Gowlings in Waterloo, Ont., said a provincial medical officer of health or a local public health authority could implement a vaccine mandate, similar to what is already in place for masks in many jurisdictions. “That takes the responsibility away from every individual employer having to fight this out with their employees or with their workers, and puts the responsibility for a public health measure where it belongs, which is on public health,” she said.
No, it doesn’t. Employers are responsible for their relationships with their employees. I don’t care if my company forces me to get what is currently still an experimental vaccine with the backing of the state or not. While this may help defend companies from legal complaints by employees, it will do nothing to prevent people from looking elsewhere.
The authorities could then allow accommodations for people who, for whatever reason, can’t get a shot, or for those who refuse vaccination on religious or moral grounds. “Those people will have to be accommodated because there’s an absolute right of accommodation under the human rights code,” Gupta said.
If I can simply refuse vaccination on moral grounds, the state can’t force me to take the vaccine. If I was told I had to take it unless I morally objected, I’d be sorely tempted to object on principle.
Gupta said provinces might impose a different set of more stringent requirements for employees working in sensitive sectors, such as long-term care homes or retirement residences, or other health-care settings where infections have been much more common during the pandemic. Gupta said Canadian courts have upheld past vaccine and mask mandates for health care workers, but the case law is inconsistent.
Makes sense, but as long as the vaccine has not been approved for general use and I were a health worker, I’d still be cautious about being vaccinated.
In 2013, a B.C. arbitrator allowed a provincial policy that requires health care workers in that province to be vaccinated or to wear face masks during flu season. The arbitrator called the policy “a valid exercise of the employer’s management rights.” But in a similar case in Ontario in 2002, arbitrators overruled a mandatory flu vaccine policy, citing the employer’s failure to secure an order from the provincial medical officer of health as justification.
Seems like a technicality in the Ontario case, but I would have thought the employer would have wanted such an order to indemnify themselves against any claims of side effects by employees.
In Ontario, the Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates that employers have an obligation to get rid of known hazards in the workplace and protect employees from work-related illness or injury. To that end, employers often take precautions to limit the spread of infectious diseases in the workplace. A vaccine requirement for workers outside a health care setting, however, has not yet been tested in a Canadian court.
Providing free vaccination for all who want it in the office is a perk. Requiring everyone get it is another thing altogether.
Ontario’s Immunization of School Pupils Act could serve as a template. The province requires students to be vaccinated against certain diseases, with some exceptions. Ontario and New Brunswick require immunization for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella for all students, while Manitoba requires a measles vaccination.
These are all established as safe, effective, and free of long term side effects.
With the employment question largely unsettled, some private companies are pushing ahead with plans to demand that customers provide proof of vaccination before entering their businesses.
And people will be able to walk away. Will theaters, who are desperate to reopen, really insist that customers produce proof, and risk having them turn around, go home, and watch the film on a streaming service? Will concerts, who’s audience’s often skew towards young people, really add this new barrier to entry? Maybe.
Dr. Kumanan Wilson, a researcher in public health innovation at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, said he thinks some sort of national “vaccine passport” that would make it easy for individuals to prove to a store manager or staff member — through a smartphone app — that they’ve gotten the COVID-19 shot is inevitable for certain sectors.
Who would want this? Who would shop anywhere that required this? Stores should already be concerned that people are already conditioned to shop online. Making it harder for their customers to return seems foolish.
Since the early days of the pandemic, he has been calling for a national effort to arm Canadians with digital proof that shows whether they have the ability to transmit COVID-19. He said there’s a distinction between proof of immunization and mandatory immunization.
Instead of the state violating everyone’s bodily autonomy, they would force “voluntary” vaccination by creating a new underclass if everyone was forced to carry such a “passport”.
“This isn’t a novel concept. We already have proof of immunization needed for a variety of uses,” Wilson told CBC News, pointing to school vaccine mandates and international restrictions on travellers entering countries where yellow fever is endemic.
International travel is voluntarily. Fortunately, since children are among the least susceptible to Covid-19, they’ll probably be among the last to get the vaccine, giving us more time to catch long term side effects like the increased incidence of narcolepsy in school children given Pfizer’s H1N1 vaccine, which was not rushed to market.
He said he doesn’t want to see some sort of “wild, wild west” climate where individual businesses develop their own systems for proof of immunization. Instead, he said, he wants the provinces and territories to take the lead in developing a database to track vaccination status.
Whenever the state starts putting us on lists, we should be concerned.
That information could then be made available for download in a digital wallet. He said governments are best placed to “mitigate the ethical and legal concerns” that could arise from such a program.
There is no chance that the corporatists and useful idiots in government will be willing or able to mitigate my ethical concerns if they are given such an instrument of potential oppression.
Wilson is working with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to develop something called the “CommonPass,” a way for travelers to confirm their COVID status without revealing detailed health information.
The very same World Economic Forum whose slogan “build back better” was parroted by Trudeau, Biden, Johnson, and others. And yet the media smears any who point this out as “conspiracy theorists”.
Air Canada and WestJet have not staked out positions on the matter, but Australia’s Qantas Airlines has said passengers will need proof of immunization for international flights once vaccines are readily available.
I would rather not travel to Australia than give any of my health information to the WEF. If Air Canada and WestJet get on board with the WEF, they will make the nearby Bellingham airport and the US airlines a more attractive alternative.
Wilson said it’s likely mass gathering events, such as concerts and professional sports competitions, also will require some sort of proof of immunization before allowing tens of thousands of people to congregate in one place with the virus still rampant.
I will simply avoid these things until the vaccine has been out for long enough to reduce the number of cases. Once the virus is no longer “rampant”, I doubt that people will be willing to submit.
Heavy-handed measures are needed to help us get to that better place. It’s not like our liberties aren’t already restricted. – Dr. Kumanan Wilson
“Let them pass that law and they’ll have you in chains with a number burned into your forehead.” — Magneto
Ticketmaster, the largest seller of tickets for concerts and events, has said there is “absolutely no requirement from Ticketmaster mandating vaccines/testing for future events,” but it is exploring new safety features that event organizers might decide to employ once events begin again. Those features could include a way for digital tickets to be linked to vaccine status, negative test results and health declarations.
Any band that would require proof of vaccination is not a band I want to see. Can you be punk and at the same time be so bought into the establishment? Good music is almost always counter cultural. Sheep who want to see Taylor Swift might need to prove their immunity, but I doubt the next great band will be playing at venues that require it.
I am not one to believe in conspiracy theories, but since watching the video Connecting the Dots: The Great Reset & The Fourth Industrial Revolution, I’ve got to say that the amount of influence the World Economic Forum has had on media and our governments is frightening. I highly recommend that people avoid anything to do with this group. The fact that our governments are parroting WEF propaganda should concern everyone.