COVID-19 vaccination audits: FAQ

November 7, 2022
Image of border crossing with the words "COVID-19"

In the fall of 2021, CBSA employees were asked to complete a vaccine attestation, confirming that they had been vaccinated against COVID-19. The requirement to attest formed part of the Treasury Board’s Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which came into effect on October 6, 2021.

The Treasury Board policy was clear that while the attestation would be sufficient to show compliance with the vaccine mandate, the attestation could be subject to a future audit. In other words, employees might be required, at some point, to prove the claim that they had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

CBSA has now begun their vaccination audit. To best answer the many questions our members might have, CIU has prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.

Had this audit been conducted while vaccinations were still a requirement, it could have been deemed a health and safety measure. We are disappointed that the Agency has chosen to question its employees’ attestations now when it can only be happening with an eye to discipline.

We invite our members to review the following FAQ and reach out to their local Union representatives should they have any further questions.

COVID-19 vaccination audits FAQ

The audit process is entirely random and is required by the Treasury Board vaccination policy. The policy requires all governmental organizations to develop a verification process to audit employees who have provided an attestation. Most such organizations are auditing approximately 5% of all attestations. At CBSA, this means 633 people across the Agency.

Yes. 100% of those at the Executive level (Directors and above) have already been audited and asked to show proof of vaccination. Lower levels of the management team form part of the 5% random audit.

No. The audit is only for employees who attested to their vaccination status prior to June 20, 2022.

You will be informed by your local manager if your name has been randomly selected for audit.

If you are selected for audit, you will need to show proof of vaccination. This means the QR code or certificate that you were issued when you were vaccinated. If you no longer have a copy, you can access this information online in most provinces and territories using your health card number.

In most cases, complying with the audit will not incur any expenses. You should not need to see a health care professional and should be able to access your records and print a copy of your QR code online. If, however, you incur additional expenses be sure to keep a receipt and submit a claim. Be prepared to demonstrate why the information was not available to you without incurring this cost.

The employer will give you two weeks to come up with the required proof of vaccination. If you require more time, speak to your manager and explain your situation. Be sure to keep a written record of any extension that you may be granted.

Unless you can show that it is impossible for you to provide the proof that the employer is seeking, a refusal may be viewed as an admission that you are not vaccinated. If you attested that you are vaccinated but did not receive the required vaccines or can’t prove that you complied with the vaccine mandate, the expected consequence is discipline up to and including termination.

If you believe that the employer is acting in bad faith or that you have been subject to harassment or discrimination, you must comply first and grieve later. Provide proof of your vaccination status and then speak to a union representative who will assist you with the grievance process. The audit process itself, however, cannot be the subject of an individual grievance.

No. The employer is not seeking any medical information that you have not already provided. The audit process simply seeks confirmation of information that you have already shared – the fact that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Even though there is no longer a requirement for federal public sector workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the employer is still allowed to verify that your attestation was truthful. The attestation form that you signed clearly stated that it was “subject to verification and audit”, which is what CBSA is attempting to do through this random sampling.

100% of CBSA executives (directors and above) are being audited. For everyone else, CBSA is verifying approximately 5% of employees, which is the same percentage as most other federal employers. The random sample is selected nationally — not within regions. However, managers can ask for proof of vaccination outside of this random sampling. If you suspect that this is why you are being audited, please contact your local Union representative.

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