Canada Post’s vaccine policy was unjust, rules arbitrator 
Arbitrator rules against Canada Post’s policy of suspending unvaccinated remote workers without pay, setting the stage for compensation negotiations.

TCS Wire

May 14, 2024

A recent ruling by a labour arbitrator has challenged part of the federal government’s COVID vaccine mandate, specifically Canada Post’s policy that suspended without pay employees who worked entirely remotely.

Canada Post’s vaccine policy was unjust, rules arbitrator 

 The arbitrator concluded that Canada Post’s vaccine mandate, which required employees to confirm receiving two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or face unpaid leave, was unreasonable for those with no prospect of in-person work.

Arbitrator Michelle Flaherty’s May 6 decision came from a case brought by the Union of Postal Communications Employees (UPCE). UPCE’s case questioned the rationale behind applying the vaccine mandate to staff who work remotely.  

“These employees had no reasonable prospect of coming into physical contact with the workplace and I cannot conclude that the primary purpose of the (mandatory vaccination practice) was advanced by requiring their vaccination,” Flaherty stated in her decision.

Furthermore, she dismissed Canada Post’s argument that the vaccine mandate was essential for maintaining overall employee health and safety. Flaherty noted that while the employer might have interests in ensuring employees are vaccinated to potentially increase work availability, these do not supersede the significant personal stakes involved for the employees, including their privacy and financial stability.

The ruling now requires the involved parties—Canada Post and UPCE—to engage in negotiations, including discussions on possible compensation for those employees who were found to have been unjustly suspended without pay.

Fanshawe College’s vaccine mandate overruled for fully remote instructor

Similarly, in February, a labour arbitrator ruled against Fanshawe College’s application of its COVID-19 vaccine policy towards a fully remote worker, Andy Wing.

Fanshawe College declined to comment on the decision instead of issuing an apology towards Wing. 

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