Labor lawyers in demand as Canadian companies lay off thousands of unvaccinated workers – National

Canadian employers lay off or leave without pay thousands of workers who refused to get
COVID-19 gunfire, squeezing an already tight labor market and increasing the prospect of potentially disruptive legal challenges.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged vaccination warrants as central to his successful campaign
for re-election in September, setting a precedent that has spread from the public sector to the private sector.

The mandate of federal workers is one of the strictest in the world, and the government has extended it to federally regulated spaces, which include airports, and to air and rail travelers.

Across Canada, hospitals, banks, insurers, school boards, police, and some provincial governments are now implementing similar policies for current and future hires.

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Unvaccinated workers whose livelihoods are at stake – in a country where more than 83 percent of the eligible population over the age of 12 have been vaccinated – are flooding labor lawyers with appeals.

Airlines Air Canada and WestJet alone, where more than 90 percent of staff are vaccinated, are suspending hundreds of people who are not and are demanding that new hires be vaccinated. Toronto transit agencies are also putting hundreds of people on unpaid leave and cutting some services.

The Ottawa Hospital, the largest in the capital and where more than 99% of staff are fully immunized, has put 186 people on unpaid leave who have failed to prove they are. Services will not be cut, however, said spokeswoman Michaela Schreiter.

While unvaccinated people have some hopes of receiving severance pay or EI, the legal advice many receive is that simply not wanting to be vaccinated is not a cause for prosecution. .

“Most people are really upset because they want to… force the employer to change the policy,” said Paul Champ of Champ & Associates in Ottawa, whose company receives 20 to 30 calls a day from non-workers. vaccinated. “I have been very clear to people that this is not going to be successful.”

Only strict religious or medical exemptions are accepted by most employers, who have the right to impose workplace health and safety conditions, Champ said.

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Canada’s top doctor says vaccine warrants help adoption, impact on spread of COVID-19 ‘remains to be seen’

Canada’s top doctor says vaccine warrants help adoption, impact on spread of COVID-19 ‘remains to be seen’ – September 10, 2021

Meanwhile, 64 percent of businesses say they face more intense labor shortages than a year ago, preventing more businesses from meeting growing demand, the Bank of Canada said. Canada last month.

The job market will face additional pressure from November 15, when up to 20,000 unvaccinated federal workers – out of some 300,000 – are expected to be placed on unpaid leave.

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“Departments and agencies will assess operational needs … and ensure that there is no noticeable impact on the service,” said Geneviève Sicard, spokesperson for the Treasury Board of Canada, who oversees the function. public.

Treasury Board has said it is not yet aware of a court challenge, although it only seems a matter of time.

“There are a lot of people willing to go all the way because they can see that the loss of one person’s rights is the loss of everyone’s rights,” said Stacey Payne, founder of Feds for Freedom, a group of federal employees who say mandates infringe their privacy and liberty.

Read more:

Did you lose your job following the refusal of the COVID-19 vaccine? You may not be eligible for Employment Insurance, according to the federal government

Unions could be successful in challenging the immunization mandates of people who work from home and don’t interact with others, said Daniel Lublin, founding partner of Whitten & Lublin in Toronto.

The mandates are “a one-size-fits-all approach,” he said. “… And the problem I have with that is that Canadian employment laws always take the context into account.” “

Workers also have a legal argument for severance pay or for employment insurance, lawyers said. Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough has argued that those who lose their jobs because they refuse to be vaccinated should not be receiving EI.

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“A lot of people were playing this on the wire to see if the companies were actually going to fire them,” Lublin said. “If they get fired, I think they’re going to fight him.”

(Supplementary report by Julie Gordon; edited by John Stonestreet)

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