As more Canadians receive their COVID-19 vaccinations, employers may be wondering whether they can ask for proof of vaccination to allow for more in-office work. Employers can ask for proof of vaccination, but should avoid keeping copies of these records wherever possible. Whether or not they will be entitled to demand proof of vaccination involves a careful balancing of workplace health and safety and employee privacy rights. Overall, employers should not impose mandatory reporting until we receive further guidance from healthcare officials and the government.

For most employers, simply requesting vaccination records for confirmation should be sufficient, instead of making or saving copies of the records. Consider having the employee sign a declaration confirming that they have had their vaccination. Further, employers should not ask for additional information regarding vaccination, such as when and where employees were vaccinated, or which vaccine they received.

If employers decide to keep copies of employee health records or their proof of vaccination, they should consider imposing a health record policy for security and peace of mind, as well as compliance with statutory requirements. Records should be kept secure and destroyed as soon as possible. This policy should include the following, at minimum:

– Reasons for collecting data
– The use of the data
– Who the data may be disclosed to and why
– The measures used to secure the data
– How and when the data will be destroyed
– What will occur in the event of theft or loss of data
– Rights for refusal and withdrawal of consent for data storage, as well as employee access to the data

Whether or not a workplace is subject to provincial or federal privacy legislation, it is recommended that employers follow the requirements of these statutes as best practice. Employer’s must also make allowances for Human Rights exemptions when considering vaccination, such as religious and medical concerns.

If your business needs assistance preparing COVID-19 or other workplace policies, we are here to help. Alternatively, if you feel that your workplace rights are being violated, we can help you determine whether you have a claim. We at Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.

Author: Rachel Patten

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