We Need a Coordinated Approach to Vaccine Mandates

Mandatory vaccination is a hot topic, with a rising number of Canadian businesses saying they will require employees and visitors to their premises to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

We’re seeing a growing number of universities and colleges, some companies as well as venues such as Winnipeg’s Canada Life Centre and Burton Cummings Theatre, implementing their own mandatory vaccination policies. The Travel Corporation (TTC) just announced that, beginning September 1, all adult guests travelling with any of their guided tour brands, including Trafalgar, Contiki, Insight Vacations, Costsaver, Brendan Vacations and Luxury Gold, will have to show proof of having received two doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines.

This is a quickly evolving issue that has implications for the meetings and business events industry. Convention centres, hotels, event venues, restaurants and places of business need to be on the same page.

MMBC is advocating for a coordinated federal, provincial and private sector approach to the questions of mandatory vaccination and a national proof-of-vaccination certificate program.

Last week, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce called on the federal government to provide labour law and Charter clarity on what business operators can require of employees and customers regarding vaccination status. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada supports the idea of a single, Canada-wide proof of vaccination system and the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable is asking Ottawa to develop a universally recognized digital vaccine certification program.

The federal government says it will mandate vaccinations for all federal employees and those working in federally regulated sectors, such as airlines, banking, broadcasting, railways and telecommunications, and it is creating a proof of vaccination passport for international travel. On September 1, the province of Quebec will implement a vaccine passport.

If you’re looking for information on how vaccination mandates might work, Canadian law firm Emond Harnden provides a good primer on mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace.

Public Opinion Towards Vaccination

New polling data from Abacus Data indicates vaccination policies may influence where people will spend their money. It raises questions as to whether meeting planners who are choosing a hosting destination, or business visitors to a destination, might share the same attitudes.

In the August 11, 2021 national poll, 41% of respondents said they prefer going into places of business where they know the employees are vaccinated; 37% would only go into places of business that required employees to be vaccinated; and 22% said knowing whether employees are vaccinated wouldn’t affect their comfort level.

Abacus data vaccination policies

Pro-Vaccination Campaigns

This Is Our Shot is ramping up its vaccination campaign with a new Rewards for Change program. More than 3,000 national and regional prizes are being offered by companies such as Air Canada, Dell, Giant Tiger, Hudson’s Bay and MLSE. Only vaccinated Canadians are eligible to win.

This is Our Shot campaign

The Faster Together coalition has released new campaign material, including a series of This Is Our Shot myth-busting videos that address popular misconceptions about the vaccine. Access the campaign and share with your networks.