26 September 2023

CANADA: PM threatens COVID ‘consequences’

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Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has doubled down on a Government demand that almost all Federal Public Servants get a COVID-19 vaccination, warning there would be repercussions for those who defy the rule.

This puts him on a collision course with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, its President, Chris Aylward (pictured) said the Alliance wouldn’t stand for the termination of Federal Public Servants who refused to get vaccinated.

Mr Trudeau also pushed back against Conservative claims that the Government’s vaccination policy wasn’t all that different from what the party’s leader, Erin O’Toole, had proposed to ensure the safety of Federal workplaces.

“We’re unequivocal that Civil Servants must be vaccinated,” Mr Trudeau said.

“If anyone doesn’t have a legitimate medical reason for not getting fully vaccinated — or chooses to not get vaccinated — there will be consequences,” he said.

Mr Trudeau didn’t explain what sort of punishment a bureaucrat could face for shunning the vaccine.

The Treasury Board Secretariat, nominally the employer of all Public Servants, posted a letter online recently which said bureaucrats who refused vaccination could instead undergo rapid testing before starting a shift.

However, that message was quickly deleted after the Conservatives held it up as evidence that Mr Trudeau’s hard line on vaccinations was all for show.

Mr Aylward, whose Alliance represents more than 160,000 Federal Public Servants, said he supported the Government’s stance that all Federal Public Servants should be vaccinated, but not to the extent that unvaccinated employees should lose their jobs.

“If it means the reassigning of work duties, if it means alternative work arrangements – arrangements such as remote work – then that’s what we’ll be looking for from this Government,” Mr Aylward said.

“Any talk around discipline around terminations for members unwilling to be vaccinated is totally unacceptable,” he said.

Ottawa, 19 August 2021

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