Since the announcement made on Oct. 6, 2021, that the Government of Canada requires federal public service employees to be fully vaccinated, several key updates have been made, and steps announced over the last few months.
The Defence Team and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have continued to implement the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination and CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination. Now that the attestation process is done, CAF members have fallen into one of three categories formed due to this policy: fully vaccinated, unable to be vaccinated, and unvaccinated.
As stated in the directives, the unable group consists of those who can’t be fully vaccinated due to a certified medical contraindication, religious ground, or any other prohibited ground of discrimination as defined in the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA).
The unvaccinated group consists of members refusing to disclose their vaccination status, or an accommodation for a certified medical contraindication or religious ground, or another prohibited ground of discrimination is not granted, and where the member is still not in compliance with the policy.
The directives say CAF members are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after they have either:
- Received both doses of an HC authorized vaccine that requires two doses to complete the vaccination series.
- Mixed dose vaccination series are accepted if it aligns with NACI recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Received one dose of an HC authorized vaccine that only requires one dose to complete the vaccination series.
- For current residents of Quebec only, has had a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection followed by at least one dose of an HC authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
CAF members that have been vaccinated outside of Canada are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after they have either:
- Received one additional dose of an mRNA vaccine at least 28 days after a complete or incomplete course/series of a non-HC authorized vaccine.
- Met the definition for fully vaccinated in the jurisdiction in which they currently reside; or
- Received three doses of any COVID-19 vaccine regardless if they are HC authorized vaccines or non-HC authorized vaccines.
Anyone who hasn’t completed their attestation will be considered unvaccinated. CAF members who have chosen to not provide an attestation will be considered non-compliant with the CAF COVID-19 vaccination policy. This may also lead to disciplinary measures for disobeying CDS direction.
False attestations by members claiming partial or fully vaccinated status, who are later determined through a verification process not to be fully vaccinated, may result in disciplinary measures. Also, CAF members can only make attestations through MCS – Monitor MASS.
How to get vaccinated
The CAF is encouraging members to get their vaccination through the CAF health system, understanding that some members may receive their vaccination through their provincial or territorial health system. Eligible members who don’t have their vaccine can get it through the immunization program at their supporting Health Services Centre.
Consequences for unvaccinated
Most Canadians can receive the vaccine, but if someone cannot be vaccinated due to a prohibited ground under the Canadian Human Rights Act, such as medical contraindication, they can ask for accommodation.
According to the directives, CAF members unwilling to comply with the directives may be subject to remedial or alternative administrative measures.
“A CAF member’s unvaccinated status may have significant career implications, including loss of opportunities contributing to promotion. Examples include the inability to serve on HMC ships, RCAF aircraft, and CA vehicles; and attend career courses, deployments, domestic and international exercises, and OUTCAN postings due to domestic and international travel restrictions and other nations’ entry requirements,” the directives stated.
The directives also note that any CAF member participating in training in advance of achieving the operationally functional point (OFP) that have not provided attestation of being fully vaccinated, will be subject to administrative action.
They also note that refusal to comply with the directive to get vaccinated will lead to remedial measures. Continued non-compliance will lead to an Administrative Review and potential release from the CAF.
The directive also reminded people that the requirement for COVID-19 immunization for CAF members does not remove the need for consent. CAF members must always give informed consent to medical personnel, and they can choose if they want to be vaccinated or not.
More information can be found in the CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination