Yesterday various ministers announced that the Mandatory Vaccination Policy for the Core Public Administration and RCMP is suspended as of June 20th. To be clear, this means that effective June 20, 2022, members will no longer be required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of employment. Members who were placed on administrative leave in November 2021 will be contacted by the employer to return to work. However, those members are encouraged to reach out to their supervisor now to initiate the RTW process.
Although the suspension of this policy is welcomed by UCCO-SACC-CSN, the Treasury Board once again failed to have proper dialogue with all bargaining agents of the National Joint Council. We received a brief, on what was to be announced, only a few minutes before the government made the announcement. This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable. We had been demanding an update on the policy for months only to find that media outlets seemed to have the information on the policy before key stakeholders. Once again, the government is improvising and is not engaging in meaningful consultation with us.
Under the policy, when it was implemented in October 2021, the office of the Chief Human Resources Officer was mandated to review the need for the policy at least every 6 months. In anticipation of an update on the policy requirement in April 2022, bargaining agents were given one round of consultation in February 2022. It was clearly communicated to the Treasury Board at that time that our members on LWOP should be allowed to return to work given the changing variants, the transmission through vaccinated individuals, the removal of mandates in provincial jurisdictions, a mandatory testing regime in our institutions and a relatively small number of our membership on LWOP as compared to those being accommodated. Moreover, the 6 months delay to review the policy was over at the beginning of April, but the employer only chose to suspend the policy effective on June 20th, more than two months later. During those two months, the employer completely cut us off from any discussions regarding the review of this policy.
We have many questions for the Treasury Board, including why this policy wasn’t suspended earlier. UCCO-SACC-CSN along with the bargaining agents of the National Joint Council will meet again with the Treasury Board on Friday of this week. We have been told that managers’ toolkits as well as an FAQ will be provided to each department very soon. Stay tuned for further updates.