Can your employer force you to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
SASKATOON -- COVID-19 vaccine rollouts are well underway across the country and for some workers, they can’t wait to get the jab.
“I’m looking forward to it as I’m sure most young people are” said D’Lish by Tish Café barista Mathias Graupe. “I’ll definitely get vaccinated myself, no hesitation.”
D’Lish by Tish Café is currently operating a drive-thru/walk-thru operation only. It pivoted in March of last year when the pandemic first hit the province. In total roughly 20 people work at the eatery.
Graupe's boss is also looking forward to the day when her staff can get their dose.
“I would love if they could get vaccinated, I look forward to the day that we can get vaccinated, we can serve our public safely," said D’Lish by Tish Café owner Tish Pagent.
Pageant said she definitely would not consider "forcing" her staff to get a coronavirus vaccine.
However, many employers — and their employees — are curious to know if that's even an option.
For those looking for clarity, employment lawyer Stuart Rudner says there's no clear-cut answer.
"On one hand you have people saying that employers have the right except in cases, where the employee has a medical condition or a human rights, or a religious belief and then on the flip side you've got people saying no employers absolutely cannot,” Rudner said.
Rudner says getting vaccinated is essentially a medical procedure, with substances being injected into a person's body and believes there will be reluctance towards having employers make that choice for people.
Ultimately he sees the debate playing out on a case-by-case basis - dependent on an employee's position and the industry they are working in
“If your workplace is all remote, then you have no reason to insist upon vaccination, if you’re a long-term health care facility, there’s a pretty strong argument," Rudner said.