Why is the Union taking this approach?

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Answer

The Union must follow the law. In Canada, this means we are bound both by acts of parliament and the legislature as well as case law decided by arbitrators, adjudicators and courts. Legislation and case law set the framework within which the Union must operate and we are generally limited to addressing concerns in the employment context.

At this time, the case law around mandatory vaccinations during a pandemic is unclear though we expect to see case law continue to emerge. Recent case law indicates that restrictions implemented to date are being seen by the courts as reasonable limitations on rights and freedoms.

Existing employment case law related to vaccines indicates that arbitrators, adjudicators and courts have given significant latitude to employers when mandating vaccines for health and safety reasons. While widespread vaccination mandates have not made their way before decision-makers, there is a definite possibility that they will rule in favour of such employer actions or may rule in favour with some restrictions.

The Union must also be careful that it does not advance cases likely to lead to decisions unfavourable to the Union that will further confine the Union’s ability to advocate for its members. Both YEU and PSAC are currently exploring all our options and will release more information on next steps as it becomes available.

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