More than 95 per cent of public servants are fully vaccinated by end of deadline
As late as last week only 240,000 attestations had been submitted, but it appears thousands of public servants submitted their forms in the days before the deadline
OTTAWA — More than 95 per cent of public servants are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after a deadline for them to announce their status passed last week.
The government’s vaccine mandate required public servants to sign an attestation by last Friday indicating if they were vaccinated. Of the 268,000 people working in the core public service almost all signed the attestation about their status.
Of those, 255,533, indicated they were vaccinated, 7,284 said they were partially vaccinated, 1,255 said they were unvaccinated and 3,150 are requesting an exemption from the policy for medical or religious reasons.
As late as last week only 240,000 attestations had been submitted, but it appears thousands of public servants submitted their forms in the days before the deadline.
Mona Fortier, president of the Treasury Board, applauded the news and thanked public servants for rolling up their sleeves.
“The Government of Canada is our country’s largest employer. I would like to thank the more than a quarter of a million public servants across Canada and around the world who have demonstrated leadership in our national vaccination effort against COVID-19,” she said.
The unvaccinated public servants could be suspended without pay as early as Nov. 15.
The mandate covers people working in core government departments including the RCMP. Crown corporations and the military have either brought in similar policies or are expected to do so soon.
Fortier said in the statement individual managers would work through the exemption requests and deal with them on a case-by-case basis.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the vaccine mandate a central plank in his reelection campaign and a point of contrast with Conservative leader Erin O’Toole who proposed public servants should be vaccinated, but could opt out of vaccines if they were tested regularly.
When Trudeau introduced the mandate in October, he said exemptions for medical and religious reasons would be granted extremely judiciously.
“Exemptions, whether they’re medical exemptions or otherwise, will be exceedingly narrow, specific, and to be honest somewhat onerous to obtain,” he said. “Simply having a personal conviction that vaccines are bad will not be nearly enough to qualify for an exemption.”
The federal government’s result is much better than several provinces have experienced with health care workers. Ontario declared it would not bring in a vaccine mandate for health care workers and Quebec is backtracking from its decision, citing the possible loss of thousands of front line workers from an already stretched system.
British Columbia is expecting to put as many as 3,000 health care workers on leave over their refusal to get a COVID vaccine.