AFL sends message to anti-vaxxers: mandatory workplace COVID vaccination policies are legal
EDMONTON – Alberta’s largest worker group, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL), has released a legal opinion stating that, in almost all cases, mandatory workplace COVID vaccination policies are legal and would not be overturned by arbitrators or the courts.
The opinion, authored by respected labour Lawyer Leanne Chahley, from Blair, Chahley, Klassen LLP, states that “grievances challenging COVID-19 policies that fall within the assumptions set out (in the legal opinion) have virtually no chance of success at arbitration.”
Chahley, who is also the former president of the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers (CALL), goes on to say that mandatory workplace COVID vaccination policies may not continue to pass the test of “reasonableness” demanded by the courts in the future, but for the time being they almost certainly do.
AFL president, Gil McGowan, welcomed the opinion and says it reinforces the strong pro-vaccination position taken by the AFL and its affiliated unions.
“Vaccination is key to getting the pandemic under control, relieving our overwhelmed health care system and keeping all of our workplaces safe,” says McGowan.
“We in the Alberta labour movement will continue to advocate for all of our members. But we will be advising those opposed to getting vaccinated that there is little chance of winning grievances against a properly constructed mandatory vaccination policies. We will also be advising them that, while unions have an obligation to investigate all member complaints properly, they do not have an obligation to file grievances on all of those complaints, especially if there is little chance of those grievances being successful.”
McGowan concluded by urging all working Albertans to get vaccinated whether they work for an employer that has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy or not.
“Our health care system is overwhelmed. Our health care workers are exhausted and traumatized. Our unvaccinated kids are at risk. And our economy will continue to stagger along until the fourth wave is brought under control. For those reasons, and for the sake of the safety of your kids and your co-workers, just get the damn shot.”