Vaccinate or vacate: which will you choose?

As compulsory vaccination gains steam, a growing number of employers are giving their workers a dismal ultimatum — vaccinate or vacate.

The idea of coerced injections may not sit well depending on what you read. A Google search reveals that Pfizer’s vaccine was fast-tracked through compressed medical trials, and that it’s yet to be proven safe in large-scale use. Or if you’re under 60, you could be forgiven for preferring low-grade COVID symptoms over unforeseen health consequences down the road.

But, as WCB lawyer Howard Levitt writes, also consider that employers, if found liable, “may face up to a $10M fine for carelessness towards COVID under provincial statutes. They would face additional massive fines under the OHS Act and potentially jail time. Employers also face a surge in WCB premiums.

Negligence is based upon employers falling below a reasonable standard of care,” Levitt adds, “and once public health authorities recommend vaccinations for everyone and vaccines are sufficiently available, there will be a strong argument that not requiring vaccinations will be negligent. (Hence), no one can challenge an employer, who insists on their employees’ vaccinations, as negligent.”

In the final analysis, the crux of the matter is whether a worker will be able to sue his employer or rather, be limited to WCB remedies. As vaccinations become exceedingly available and public health authorities endorse vaccinations, any worker who contracts coronavirus in a workplace may bring action against their employer for not mandating vaccinations among their workforce.

And so it would seem that most Canadians should prepare for the prospect of being ordered to vaccinate.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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About Me

Ben Barfett, Principal and Consultant, has spent his life in the construction sector, specifically heavy civil, enviro, commercial, and energy. Having held senior roles in business development, technical advisory, and regional management, he earned his stripes in the field and in head office. Conscious of the interplay between commercial, legal, and execution aspects of construction, his business insights are informed by expertise in WCB policy and enhanced with disability-specific training. 

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Blue Collar Consulting

Blue Collar Consulting is a WCB and disability management firm. The company specializes in rapid and affordable disability solutions that advance current claims, contain the cost of future claims, and get injured workers back on their feet. 

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