Canadian National Railway mandates vaccines for employees

The mandate covers current staff and new hires

Canadian National Railway mandates vaccines for employees

The Canadian National Railway announced on Wednesday that all of its employees in Canada must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1. The new mandate applies to all the company's employees and new hires across Canada. It will also cover the railway's contractors, consultants, agents and suppliers, as well as individuals who have access to the company's Canadian properties.

Medical and religious exemptions will be made by the company on an individual case by case basis. However, the company did not issue any potential consequences for employees who refuse the vaccine on other grounds.

"Safety being a core value at CN, this measure will contribute to protecting the health of its employees, customers and the communities in which it operates," the company said in a statement.

Read more: 62% of Canadian employers plan to make vaccines mandatory

More and more companies across Canada are mandating vaccines amid the transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant. Airlines companies, such as WestJet and the United Airlines, have announced similar moves to protect their employees. Major banks, tech companies, and production firms like Google and Netflix also made vaccines a requirement for some of their staff. In Canada, federal workers are  now also required to be vaccinated, with the policy applying also to travellers in interprovincial trains, commercial air, and marine vessels.

Ontario also joined the likes of Quebec and BC after rolling out plans for vaccine passports in recreational businesses. HRD recently spoke with Lorenzo Lisi on the legalities and potential implications of these COVID certificates.

“I would say that Ontario employers welcome a standardized proof of vaccination approach, instead of businesses and organizations independently setting forth their own rules,” he told HRD. “However, from an employment perspective, there remains the issue of the possibility of legal liability where an employee refuses to either get vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination (without a medical religious accommodation request) and is either put on leave or terminated as a result.  This remains a significant practical and legal concern for employers in Ontario, who increasingly are leaning towards making vaccinations mandatory.”

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