Human Rights Commission clarifies Mandatory Vaccination

September 22nd, 2021 by Celia Chandler

Today the Ontario government’s proof of vaccine certificate goes into effect for specific higher-risk indoor public settings where masking is not possible. At the same time, other organizations have made their own decisions to follow the provincial lead and implement their own vaccine policies. 

We have heard many people using human rights related arguments to justify remaining unvaccinated on medical grounds or on the ground of creed or a belief system. Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released a statement on this issue.  

Here are the key points in the OHRC statement:

  • “While receiving a COVID-19 vaccine remains voluntary, the OHRC takes the position that mandating and requiring proof of vaccination to protect people at work or when receiving services is generally permissible under the Human Rights Code (Code) as long as protections are put in place to make sure people who are unable to be vaccinated for Code-related reasons are reasonably accommodated. This applies to all organizations.”
  • “Some people are not able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for medical or disability-related reasons. Under the Code, organizations have a duty to accommodate them, unless it would significantly interfere with people’s health and safety.” 
  • “Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary. At the same time, the OHRC’s position is that a person who chooses not to be vaccinated based on personal preference does not have the right to accommodation under the Code. The OHRC is not aware of any tribunal or court decision that found a singular belief against vaccinations or masks amounted to a creed within the meaning of the Code.”

You can read the full statement here.

If you are struggling with determining whether the government’s mandatory vaccination applies in your organization or if you’re working on a policy to require vaccination, we can help.  

Filed in: Human Rights

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