Do your health and safety policies protect workers from COVID-19 under OHSA? - OGCA Vaccination Policy Template
The past 16 months have placed difficult conditions on the construction industry, ranging from shutdowns, supply chain interruptions, increased health and safety restrictions, uncomfortable testing procedures, and overall increases in costs. Thankfully, we are finally in a position that first and second vaccinations are available to all adults in Ontario, subject to medical conditions. As we slowly return to normal, employers need to understand their obligations under 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to "take every precaution reasonable in the circumstance for the protection of workers." For some employers, this will include creating and maintaining a workplace vaccine policy to record who has been vaccinated and can work safely with others.
To assist our members, the OGCA has distributed two templates on COVID-19 vaccine policies. The policies were developed by Norm Keith of KPMG Law for contractors as an enforceable corporate policy to meet the high standards of OHSA by ensuring vaccinated workers are not exposed to others who have yet to be vaccinated.
The OGCA vaccine policy templates protect workers, while ensuring the following conditions are met:
- Consistency with public health and OH&S guidance related to COVID-19
- Recognition of the employer's legal accountability
- Recognition that all workers have the right to refuse work with another worker who may expose them to an occupational disease
- Inclusion of reasonable exceptions to the requirement
- Protection of the workers' confidential personal information
- Established proof of compliance
To meet the needs of OGCA members, we have developed two versions of the vaccine policy and draft internal communications encouraging vaccinations. We have distributed the policy documents to all members and they are available here.
In preparation for the release of the policies, Norm Keith, KPMG Law, presented two webinars, including a Q&A about using the workplace COVID-19 policies template. You can find a full version of both these webinars on the OGCA Youtube Channel.