Lisa Bolton of Sherrard Kuzz LLP made a presentation on COVID-19 Vaccination and the Workplace. The presentation was on screening customers/visitors for vaccinations; mandatory employee vaccinations; and compliance with current health & safety requirements to address COVID-19.
When considering if businesses should require proof of vaccinations, they need to weigh the objectives of protecting health & safety & minimizing potential liability under the Occupiers’ Liability Act and Bill 218; vs. the risks of Human Rights Code or privacy complaints/violations. She suggested not to implement vaccination screening for customers/visitors unless the benefit outweighs the risk. If implementing vaccination screening develop a policy you will need to identify why screening is a reasonable business requirement and confirm accommodation will be provided to those who cannot comply for a human rights-related reason. If collecting personal information follow Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act including identifying how information will be used, securely stored, safely destroyed, etc. and obtaining consent prior to collection.
Before implementing a vaccination policy, encourage voluntary compliance through education and incentives (if appropriate) assess objective vs. risk.
Vaccination status (currently) is not an exemption from compliance with public health and safety requirement. Businesses are obligated to ensure public health requirements and recommendations are followed by employees and the public on business premises.
Be prepared for a workplace inspection by having a COVID-19 workplace safety plan and following all health and safety requirements/guidance. Safety plan is a written roadmap addressing how business will address COVID-19 transmission risk. The plan includes education, workplace screening, physical distancing, mask or face coverings, cleaning & disinfecting and wearing of PPE.