The walls are closing in on federal public servants who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that all federal employees must have two jabs against COVID-19, while anyone travelling by rail, sea, or air in Canada who is eligible to receive a vaccine must be fully vaccinated by the end of the month.
The new federal policy allows for a one-month grace period where proof of a negative COVID test will still be accepted. Beginning on Nov. 30, all travellers in federally regulated marine, air and rail services will have to be fully vaccinated. Testing exemptions will only be allowed in extremely limited emergency situations.
How federally regulated operators verify proof of vaccination will be left to Via Rail, West Jet and Air Canada, and can include provincial vaccine certificates or paper copies.
The federal government says public servants must prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 29, or be put on unpaid administrative leave.
The new policy will affect more than 267,000 core public-service and RCMP workers, officials said and will apply even to those who work from home and outside of the country.
They will have to provide an attestation of their vaccine status online. The attestations will be tracked and audited by departments, and managers can ask for proof of vaccination at any time.
Employees who provide false attestations will be punished with disciplinary action, including firings.
People who have had only one dose will be given 10 weeks to get their next one before they are put on unpaid leave.
They will not be allowed back at work until they are either vaccinated or the policy is no longer in effect.
“If you’ve done the right thing and gotten vaccinated, you deserve the freedom to be safe from COVID-19, to have your kids be safe from COVID, to get back to the things you love,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
The new policy affects about 267,000 employees.