Mandatory vaccines in N.L.? Web of legal hurdles needs to be cleared first, lawyer says – CBC

‘An employer is required to keep the workplace safe,’ says Ryan Watkins

Aug 19, 2021

As some provinces introduce mandatory vaccines for health-care workers and educators, Newfoundland and Labrador is taking a more laissez-faire approach, with one lawyer telling CBC News that the provincial government would have to navigate a complex legal web to implement such a rule.

Other provinces, as well as the federal government, have forged ahead with enforcement. In Ontario, for instance, medical workers face a strict vaccination policy; those who decline a shot without a medical reason face the prospect of continuous COVID-19 testing and an education session on vaccine efficacy.

But it’s not clear such a scenario could play out here without a hitch.

Ryan Watkins, a partner with Whitten and Lublin Employment Lawyers in Toronto, told CBC Radio’s On The Go there are a number of challenges a person could make, in theory, if faced with a vaccine mandate from their employer.

Human rights legislation offers exemptions, including religion or medical reasons, Watkins pointed out.

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