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Monday, September 27, 2021

President of largest public sector union ‘will not stand’ for termination of unvaccinated civil servants

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OTTAWA — The Public Service Alliance of Canada president says he “will not stand for the termination” of federal public servants who refuse to get vaccinated, after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau warned of “consequences” for those civil servants.

In an interview with CTV News, Chris Aylward said “it’s very concerning to us when national party leaders are making statements around discipline around terminations when it comes to these vaccinations. That is totally unacceptable to us.”

Aylward, who represents more than 160,000 federal public servants, stated that he supports the government’s stance that all federal public servants should be vaccinated. But he said unvaccinated employees will require accommodations to keep their jobs.

“If that means the reassigning of work duties, if that means alternative work arrangement — arrangements such as remote work — then that’s what we’ll be looking for from this government,” said Aylward. “But any talk around discipline around terminations for members unwilling to be vaccinated is totally unacceptable by PSAC and I want to make that very clear.”

He added that frequent testing of unvaccinated employees who need to come into a federal office building could also be a potential solution.

Today, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau stated that public servants “need to be fully vaccinated.”

“The bottom line is, if anyone who doesn’t have a legitimate medical reason for not getting fully vaccinated chooses to not get vaccinated, there will be consequences,” he said.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh issued a statement saying public servants who refuse a shot could be punished under collective agreements between unions and the federal government.

“All collective agreements include a process for progressive discipline – up to and including termination. Discipline should always be a last resort, but may be necessary in rare cases to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” Singh said.

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