City of Edmonton Employee Vaccination Policy

Posted on 9/30/2021

CSU 52 is currently investigating its options to respond to the City of Edmonton’s Mandatory Disclosure and Employee Vaccination Policy. CSU 52 will be filing a Policy Grievance to which we will attach the names of those who are unvaccinated and wish to be added to the grievance. Although the details have yet to be finalized, the idea would be to hold individual grievances in abeyance pending the outcome of the Policy Grievance. Our current legal advice basically states that it is likely within management rights to ask for mandatory disclosure and vaccination.

Regarding mandatory disclosure, the City is likely within its rights under Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Act to request this information to better understand how and what safety protocols need to be implemented for employee and public safety within its facilities. Should a member have discipline applied due to the failure to disclose, contact the Union office and we will file a grievance on your behalf.

Regarding the Employee Vaccination Policy, after sharing your emails, questions and the City’s policy, our legal counsel states that the City likely has the ability to ask for mandatory vaccination. We have also reviewed other responses from Canadian unions on this matter which concur with our legal advice.

While the Union strongly encourages our members to get vaccinated, if possible, to help prevent community spread of COVID-19, members who are experiencing anxiety about receiving the vaccination should speak with their doctor. For members who do not wish to be vaccinated, the employer will allow you to be tested twice a week on your own time and cost. If members are unvaccinated and refuse testing, the City will most likely place these members on an unpaid leave. If we are successful in our grievance, some compensation may be negotiated or awarded.

Human Rights Exemptions

Members who have a bonafied medical condition that prevents them from receiving the vaccination, will have to obtain a medical letter explaining their exemption. Members who cannot receive the vaccination under protected grounds such as religion, will have to provide reasonable objection that prevents them from receiving the vaccination. Under these circumstances, the City is obligated to take reasonable steps to accommodate individuals to the point of undue hardship.

We understand that some members feel that the COVID-19 vaccination and testing policies are in violation of the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act or the Nuremberg Code. In the legal opinion we received, “the COVID-19 tests (rapid test and PCR tests) do not analyze the individuals DNA or RNA. The Nuremberg Code is also not applicable because it is about medical experimentation. COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental because they have been approved by Health Canada.” The opinion also feels that the policy does not engage the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Union will continue to represent its members to the best of our ability.