COVID-19 Vaccine at Work: What Are the Rules?

Legal News

In Quebec, whether it is against COVID-19 or another disease, vaccination is not generally mandatory. However, when it comes to the workplace and the pandemic, there are some importance nuances.

Can your employer force you to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. An employer cannot force you to be vaccinated. In fact, you have the right decide whether to be vaccinated. It’s your choice, just like with other health care. 

However, your employer may ask you to be vaccinated depending on your work environment. For example, a vaccine may be required if you are in frequent contact with vulnerable people. A court recently ruled that it was not illegal to require a vaccine against COVID-19 the health care system.

The federal government also plans to require all employees in federally regulated workplaces to be vaccinated. This includes employees of banks and postal services. This policy will apply to both remote and on-site employees.

Can your employer ask about your vaccination status?

In general, an employer cannot ask you if you are vaccinated unless the nature of your job justifies it. For example, your employer may be allowed to ask for proof of vaccination if you work in the health and social services network and are in contact with vulnerable people. In one recent case, a cleaning company was allowed to require proof of vaccination from its employees.

If you tell your employer your vaccination status, the employer must keep this information confidential. It is personal information related to your medical record. Your employer cannot share this information with anyone else without your consent.

What happens if you refuse your employer’s request to get vaccinated?

Your employer may take disciplinary action against you if vaccination is required in your workplace. For example, before the pandemic, a nursing home was allowed to remove a worker without pay if they refused to get the flu vaccine.

If you have any questions about any potential disciplinary action, you can contact the CNESST (labour standards, pay equity and workplace health and safety board) or your union.