Canadian Lawyer

March 2022

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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4 www.canadianlawyermag.com UPFRONT NEWS ANALYSIS DISPUTES OVER workplace vaccine mandates have arisen in workplaces across the country, from the nursing sector to the sportsfield, the trucking industry to the legal profession. In 2022, these policies are the norm, but how they will stand up to legal challenges is still an open question. Despite controversy, vaccine mandates are popular. Sixty-eight per cent of the respondents to an Ipsos poll released in January 2021 said they agreed with manda- tory vaccination for all Canadians, aside from those with a health exemption. This support rose to 78 per cent among respondents aged 55 and older. At the time of writing, approximately 78 per cent of Canadians are fully vaccinated, and 84 per cent have received at least one dose, according to COVID19Tracker.ca. In 2022, the jab dodgers will find getting hired difficult, as vaccination is increasingly becoming a requirement for employers across sectors, including the legal profession. Michelle Dunnill is a branch director at recruitment company Robert Half. She has clients in the legal, management resources, technology, marketing and creative sectors. "What we're hearing from all of our clients, and even more so in the past prob- ably 30 days, is that candidates do need to be fully vaccinated," says Dunnill. "Before, it wasn't a must-have, necessarily, that you were fully vaccinated. And in our new world this year, in 2022, that is the new trend that we're starting to see." She says employers are also pulling offers late in the recruiting process for unvaccin- ated candidates and ending relationships with unvaccinated contractors. Dunnill notes that while these trends are present in the legal profession, she sees them across all sectors. Wildeboer Dellelce LLP has had a vaccine mandate since last August. "It's about the public healthcare system," says Perry Dellelce, a founder and managing partner at the firm. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer are falling sick and filling up the hospitals, he says. "That's undebatable." People also feel safer coming to work when their co-workers are vaccinated, Dellelce adds. "And we have an obligation to our employees, and everyone, to provide a safe and healthy workplace. "We've always taken pride in our firm, in being a community leader, both in business and in the community … To not have people, part of our team, vaccinated is a statement that we don't care about the community as a whole. And we're just not going to have it." With vaccine mandates becoming the norm, employers are inundating employ- ment lawyers, seeking advice on imple- menting such a policy and on employees seeking recourse after being terminated because of one. "It's a huge issue right now," says Bram Lecker, principal at Lecker & Associates. "I would say one out of every three calls that we get … is based on COVID vaccine mandates" Bram Lecker, Lecker & Associates Vaccine mandates: Are they legal? Vaccine mandates are ubiquitous in Canada's workplaces, but disputes continue to raise the question of legality, writes Aidan Macnab

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