Canada Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Employees in Federal Public Service and Federally Regulated Transportation Sector

On August 13, 2021, Canada announced that, as early as the end of September, it will require COVID-19 vaccination across the federal public service.1 Accommodations or alternative measures (e.g., testing or screening) for the few unable to be vaccinated, may be determined in each situation.

Canada’s announcement also provides that as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October, it will require employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated.2  The vaccination requirement will also extend to commercial air travellers, and passengers on interprovincial trains and large marine vessels with overnight accommodations (e.g., cruises).  

Finally, the announcement indicates that Canada “expects that Crown corporations3 and other employers in the federally regulated sector4 will also require vaccination for their employees,” and that it “will work with these employers to ensure this result.”

Canada’s announcement does not provide implementation details, but suggests that such details will be communicated when determined.   

Legislation or regulations reflecting Canada’s announcement have not yet been released. 

Bottom Line for Employers

Federal public service employers, and employers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors, are encouraged to be alert to the release of legislation or regulations that flesh out the details of the recently announced vaccination requirement. We will be following such developments as they occur, and we will report on them, as appropriate.    

See Footnotes

1 Federal Public Service employees are people working in departments and agencies named in Schedules I and IV of the Financial Administration Act (FAA), for which the Treasury Board Secretariat is the employer, and in separate agencies named under Schedule V of the FAA.  This would include, for example, but is not limited to, employees of Canada’s Department of Finance, Department of Health, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Department of Citizenship and Immigration, Department of Justice, Department of National Defence, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and National Film Board.

2 In Canada, the air, rail, and marine transportation sectors are regulated by the federal government.  Accordingly, those employed by provincial governments are not impacted by this federal government announcement. 

3 In Canada, Crown corporations are government organizations with a mixture of commercial and public-policy objectives. They are directly and wholly owned by the Crown. In the federal sector, they include, for example, but are not limited to, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), VIA Rail, Canada Post. Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, Royal Canadian Mint, and Bank of Canada.

4 In addition to the air, rail, and marine transportation sectors that have already been referenced, other sectors regulated by the federal government include, for example, but are not limited to, banks, radio and television broadcasting, road transportation services, and telecommunications.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.