Updated guidelines from the federal government suggest workers who lose their job over a refusal to vaccinate against COVID-19 may not be eligible for employment insurance benefits.
Employment and Social Development Canada has issued a notice to help employers fill out records of employment related to vaccine mandates.
The department says if an employee doesn’t report to work or is suspended or terminated for refusing to comply with a vaccine mandate, the employer should indicate on employment documents that they quit, took a leave of absence or were dismissed — potentially disqualifying them from E.I.
But the notice also lays out multiple factors that could be considered, including whether the vaccine policy was clearly communicated, if it was reasonable within the workplace context and potential exemptions.
Employment lawyer Adam Savaglio says the updated guidelines mean workers who refuse to vaccinate and cannot be accommodated by their workplace may not have employment insurance benefits to fall back on.
Still, he says the assessment of employment insurance applications will likely be done on a case-by-case basis.
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