There have been a lot of confusing orders and “suggestions” from Governments, Health Authorities, Client/Owners and Contractors about mandatory vaccinations. Vaccinations are a medical procedure and you have the right to refuse a medical procedure. The problem is, we have been forced to choose between accepting employment and subjecting ourselves to what may be an unwanted medical procedure due to client/owner rules. What we can tell you is that although you cannot be forced to vaccinate, if a client/owner requires double vaccination to go on site and does not offer an alternative you will probably be denied entry to the site, unless you can prove vaccination. It does not make sense to cut out fifteen to twenty percent of the available work force. LNG Canada and Site-C and other sites have been doing quite well with Covid 19 testing, daily health checks, masking, ventilation and social distancing to control the spread since the beginning of the “pandemic”. On occasion there have been outbreaks but they have been handled by isolation and stricter camp rules. These measures protect workers from exposure. Given that the virus can be passed on by vaccinated persons, the testing and other safety measures should stay in place to continue to prevent transmission. We are pursuing every avenue to enable alternatives to vaccination while still keeping all members safe. For now, if you can, getting the vaccination would ensure you can accept any employment that comes your way. Many of us have already been vaccinated, however if you cannot see yourself taking the vaccination we are doing everything we can to make it possible for you to go to work on sites that have no vaccination requirement or an alternative.
Some clients/owners of industrial and commercial/institutional sites have been requiring double vaccination status in order to enter a work site and providing an alternative for those with a valid medical or religious reasons for not being vaccinated. In most cases a valid Covid 19 test done on site or within a couple of days of arriving on site is offered as an alternative to vaccination. Our local is currently looking into free rapid testing that can be done by our members and sent in by a designated verifier, which will provide an alternative to vaccination and still maintain member health care info privacy. In some cases the clients are requiring our contractors to ensure their employees, our members, are double vaccinated but the client is not requiring plant employees to double vax as well. This is probably illegal because the client/owner is not applying their vaccination policy equally to all on site. We are fighting to have this inequity corrected.
The federal government has put in place mandatory vaccinations for travel on airlines (effective October 30, 2021) which makes it impossible for anyone to travel to and from work via air without being vaccinated. There is a short term alternative for those who cannot take a vaccine for medical reasons, if you can show a valid COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours of travel, this will suffice until November 30, 2021. Unfortunately, this has yet to be tested in the courts, and so if you want to fly but object to vaccination, you will not be allowed to travel by air in Canada. Fighting this federal order will be more difficult, and so any work with flight-based travel will be not available to those who have not vaccinated.
Geoff Higginson, President