Employers should be flexible in their policies
More than half of small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada are considering of mandating vaccines for their employees, a new study has revealed. In a poll by KPMG among 505 Canadian small- and medium-sized owners, 62% said they are eyeing or planning to make COVID-19 vaccinations a requirement for their staff.
Most of the respondents, with 84%, have also expressed their support for vaccine passports to perform certain jobs or enter certain places. According to the same number of polled individuals, vaccines should be mandatory as they are key to avoiding lockdowns.
The Canadian government has previously mandated all federal workers to get vaccinated amid the growing threat of the Delta variant. Private businesses, however, are left to come up with their own vaccine policies.
With 90% of employers saying they are already well-prepared and organised in bringing employees back to offices, employers are still treading on the legality of requiring their staff to provide proof of vaccination.
"With so many different approaches across the country, Canadian companies are seeking legal guidance and advice on vaccination policies for their workplaces," said Norm Keith, Partner, Employment and Labour Law, KPMG Law LLP, and a leading advisor in Canadian safety law, in a media release.
According to Keith, some employers feel it may be "too onerous for them" to make vaccines a condition of employment, adding that employers need to find a balance between keeping staff healthy and avoiding legal repercussions when it comes mandating jabs.
"In general, we recommend that employers receive legal advice when putting in place any COVID-19 safety measures to reduce a wide range of risks. This includes implementation of a vaccination policy that clearly communicates employer commitments and expectations for employee safety," Keith said.
Employers should also be flexible and listen to employee concerns in developing and implementing vaccine policies, according to KPMG, especially on exemptions based on disability and religious beliefs.
They should also be reasonable and remain grounded that they have the legal obligation to keep their staff safe and remind workers that they have the legal duty to not work if they endanger others.