Tag Archives: vaccination

Update: Grievances on the denial of a religious or medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination policy

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Almost all grievances stemming from the employer’s failure to grant a religious or medical exemption from the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination policy for public servants have now passed through the final level of the grievance procedure. Many of these were accompanied by a second grievance contesting the period of leave without pay that followed a refusal to be vaccinated. These were also presented at the final level.

Last month, CIU started to receive the employer’s final level responses, which continue to deny these grievances. As responses come in, the files are being sent to PSAC for referral to adjudication. PSAC has agreed to provide representation, and the grievances will now be sent to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board.

If you have filed an accommodation grievance contesting the employer’s failure to provide you with a medical or religious exemption, you should receive a final level response in the coming weeks. Be assured that if your grievance continues to be denied, we will be moving your grievance(s) on to PSAC.

COVID-19 vaccination audits: FAQ

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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

Government lifts vaccination policy for federal workers


Today, the federal government announced it will lift the vaccination policy for all workers in federally regulated workplaces as of June 20, and allow workers who’ve been put on leave without pay because of their vaccination status to return to work without restrictions.

Treasury Board has also asked Crown corporations and agencies to suspend their vaccination requirements, and contractors accessing federal workplaces will no longer have vaccination requirements.

“There’s no doubt we continue to support vaccinations as an important tool to protect workers and our communities from COVID-19,” said PSAC National President Chris Aylward. “But as public health guidelines have been lifted across the country, we’ve been urging the government to review and update their vaccination policy for federal workers.”

Unfortunately, the federal government did not consult with PSAC before making its decision to lift its vaccination policy. Unions should always be consulted on policies that have a major impact on the terms and conditions of employment of our members to protect their health and safety and their rights in the workplace.

Policy grievances for workers on leave without pay 

In March, PSAC filed policy grievances on behalf of our members who continued to be on leave without pay (LWOP) because of their vaccination status. We argued that continuing this measure was unnecessarily punitive.

Earlier this year, PSAC also launched policy grievances arguing the government’s policy placing full-time remote workers on leave without pay constituted an abuse of management authority because they posed no threat to the health and safety of their workplaces.

“Now that the government has lifted its vaccination policy, we expect members who were unfairly impacted to be compensated,” said Aylward.

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

PSAC files policy grievances against federal vaccination policy


PSAC continues to support vaccination as a critical public health measure to protect our workplaces and our communities. Yet as public health restrictions begin to lift across the country, it’s important to take a critical look at the federal government’s vaccination policy and how it is applied to PSAC members.

As the pandemic has evolved and the science has developed, we believe continuing to put unvaccinated employees on leave without pay is a harsh administrative measure that can be considered disciplinary and without just cause.

PSAC has filed policy grievances on behalf of all members in the federal public service – including Treasury Board, Canada Revenue Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Parks Canada – who have been put on leave without pay because of their vaccination status.

As part of the remedy, we have requested compensation for members should they continue to be placed on leave without pay because of the government’s policy. PSAC’s grievances come as the government begins to review its vaccination policy six months after its implementation.

Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to support members who have had their human rights or workplace rights violated because of their vaccination status.

PSAC continues to consult with the federal government on its vaccination policy to ensure it reflects the latest public health guidelines while protecting the health and safety of our members and their rights in the workplace.

Policy grievance for remote workers remains active

Though all workers are included in this latest policy grievance, PSAC had previously submitted a different policy grievance covering only remote Treasury Board employees in December 2021, with a subsequent submission for remote CRA employees earlier this month.

PSAC argued at the time that the federal government’s mandatory vaccination policies to place remote workers on leave without pay constituted an abuse of management authority because remote workers, who had little to no prospect of returning to physical workplaces in the long term, posed no reasonable threat to the health and safety of their workplaces.

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

Ongoing protests against bilateral vaccine mandate: Letter to CTA President Laskowski

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CIU National President Mark Weber sent the following letter to Stephen Laskowski, President of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, on February 3, 2022.

Dear President Laskowski,

It is with great interest that I have been reading the recent statements issued by the Canadian Trucking Alliance in response to the ongoing protests against mandatory vaccination for truck drivers and other essential workers crossing the Canada-U.S. border.

Last August 6, when members of the Customs and Immigration Union undertook their work-to-rule strike action as part of contract negotiations, the overwhelming majority of truck drivers demonstrated patience and consideration towards Border Officers, speaking to the professionalism of your membership. In the last few weeks, the feedback from our members on the frontline has also been unequivocal: Since the implementation of the mandatory vaccination policy for cross-border travel in late January 2022, interactions between Border Officers and truck drivers entering Canada have continued to be positive.

As the CTA noted in its communications, most truck drivers are vaccinated and are complying with COVID-19 related regulations. With CBSA personnel and truck drivers interacting on a daily basis across Canada, I am greatly appreciative of the fact that our respective memberships have been doing their part to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in maintaining the flow of commercial goods entering the country.

While the right to protest is an undeniable strength of our democracy, it is certainly unfortunate to see that some individuals have elected to voice their irritation with current regulations in a way that casts a shadow on the rest of the truck driving profession. I am certain that Canadians everywhere know that these actions are not representative of your members in general. Acts of intolerance cannot be condoned or ignored, and I am glad to see the CTA taking a strong position against such behaviour.

In closing, I wish to thank your members for working the front line throughout the pandemic, and offer my full support to you and your organization in these challenging times. In line with what you yourself have stated, only by working together toward a common goal can we hope to mitigate the effect of the ongoing pandemic. In that spirit,

Best regards,

Mark Weber
National President
Customs and Immigration Union

Click here for the PDF version.