Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday that he’s considering making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for federal employees; a move health and labour experts say could set an example for businesses and institutions across the country.
Speaking alongside Quebec Premier Francois Legault, who announced his province would be instituting a vaccine passport amid concerns over rising COVID-19 case counts, the Prime Minister said he’s also looking at whether new requirements to either require or encourage vaccination would be necessary in federal workplaces or in federally-regulated industries such as banking, railways, air travel and Parliament.
“I’ve asked the Clerk of the Privy Council, who is responsible for the federal public service, to look at mandatory vaccinations for federal employees. And we’re also looking at federally-regulated industries, to encourage or perhaps even to mandate vaccinations for those industries,” Trudeau said.
Until now, Trudeau has largely left questions about requiring proof of vaccination to participate in certain aspects of society up to each province.
The move also emulates Democrat U.S. President Joe Biden’s announcement this week, announcing that all federal workers will need to report their vaccination status, and any worker who does not will have to follow safety rules like mask-wearing and weekly testing.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam also weighed in on the announcement, stating, “This is under discussion. I think the federal government, being a significant workforce, is looking at how we best protect our workforce, as well as those around us.” She also said that the Treasury Board and departmental occupational health and safety staff are involved in the discussions.