Connect with us

News

Companies are implementing vaccine mandates. Can employees reject them? – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Federal and provincial governments, private businesses as well as Canada’s biggest banks have in recent weeks announced plans to implement mandatory vaccination policies for many of their returning staff. 

These vaccine mandates require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But do employers have the right to impose such mandates? What if employees refuse?

CBC News looks at the legal issues these mandates raise.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Do companies face legal hurdles in imposing vaccine mandates?

That will likely depend on the particular circumstances that an employer and employee find themselves in, says Toronto-based employment lawyer Alex Lucifero. And the law will differ, he says, based upon a number of factors — for example, the particular industry, or whether the employees are unionized.

“There’ll be a bunch of different factors that will be taken into consideration,” he said. “I imagine eventually there will potentially be different laws for different industries or groups of employees. For that reason, it makes it extremely complex and there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer.”

Employment lawyer Adam Savaglio, a partner with Scarfone Hawkins LLP in Hamilton, Ont. told CBC News that there are many misconceptions and incorrect assumptions about the law around vaccination mandates.

“They can’t necessarily compel, but they can certainly ask for evidence of vaccination because they have an underlying obligation to that worker and others in the workplace to provide a healthy and safe workplace,” he said in an interview.

However, Toronto-based employment lawyer Howard Levitt said that in Canadian law, safety always trumps privacy. That means employers will be permitted by the courts and arbitrators to have compulsory vaccination policies, except for religious and medical exemptions.

Can a company fire an employee who refuses to get vaccinated?

“I believe they have the rights as an employer to mandate it and to terminate people who won’t comply,” Levitt said.

Canada’s biggest banks will require employees who return to the office to be vaccinated or submit to regular testing. (CBC)

Lucifero said someone who refuses to adhere to an employer’s vaccine mandate because of a medical condition or religious belief cannot be fired because that would be considered discrimination under the human rights code.

“But the reality is that your employer can let you go because you haven’t been vaccinated. An employer can actually let you go for no particular reason at all. That’s what we call a ‘without cause’ termination,” he said.

Your employer doesn’t even need a reason to let you go as long as the proper amount of severance is paid.”

What about charter rights to protect me if I don’t want to be vaccinated?

What’s important for people to understand, says constitutional expert Wayne MacKay, professor emeritus of law at Dalhousie University, is that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms only applies to government action. That means, when it comes to vaccine mandates, the charter only applies for government workers refusing such a decree.

“It doesn’t apply to private businesses or [a] private individual’s actions,” he said. “Statute law does, privacy laws, human rights codes, those kind of things.  But only government action is restricted by the charter.

What charter rights might apply to vaccine mandates?

There are potentially at least three sections of the charter that could be used by a government employee to challenge a vaccine mandate, including Section 7 — the right to life, liberty and security of the person.

That could be cited to challenge “a policy that seems to coerce people into getting vaccinated,” wrote University of B.C. law professor Debra Parkes and University of Ottawa law professor Carissima Mathen in a recent editorial. 

However, Bryan Thomas, adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics, says he  believes challenges under Section 7 are unlikely to be successful because that section doesn’t protect an individual’s economic interests or “your ability to retain a job.”

Section 15, which offers protection from discrimination, could also be invoked but Thomas says he believes it would fail as an argument because an employer is not actually discounting anyone’s interests.

WATCH | All kinds of employers grappling with vaccine mandates

Workplaces consider COVID-19 vaccine requirements

6 days ago

Some Canadian companies have imposed their own COVID-19 vaccine requirements on employees who want to return to the workplace, while others are hoping the federal government’s new mandate will be applied to them. But some employment lawyers say though vaccine mandates are legal, they’re not simple. 2:04

“[They’re] making up kind of this a legitimate form of discrimination and saying, you know, you unvaccinated person pose a great risk to yourself and to others by entering the workplace,” said Thomas.

Section 2A, the so-called religious exemption, or freedom of conscience, could also be applicable.

Parkes and Mathen wrote that this an underdeveloped area of charter law, but could be relevant “where a person has a sincerely held belief that the vaccination is harmful to their health or, in some other way, deeply wrong.”

But Thomas said someone who is vaccine hesitant, for example, couldn’t claim that’s a freedom of conscience issue.

“The courts have a more rigorous test or standard for conscience,” he said. “It has to be something that’s akin to a religion in your life.”

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

5 things to know today: Canada's 'two-faced' winter forecast – CTV News

Published

 on


CTV News travels to Pakistan and finds some Afghans who fled and are now homeless, a new weather forecast predicts a “two-faced” winter for many Canadians, and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith tables the controversial sovereignty act. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

1. Refugee camp: CTV News visits a refugee camp in Pakistan, where Afghan children live in flimsy tents set up in a park, without basics like running water or ample food, with only their mothers for protection.

2. Winter forecast: Despite warm and mild temperatures stretching on throughout most of the fall season, the wrath of winter may be coming soon, experts say. But frigid temperatures aren’t expected to last.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

3. Sovereignty act: Danielle Smith introduces the Sovereignty within a United Canada Act in the provincial legislature while trying to reassure Albertans that it has nothing to do with leaving the country.

4. Canada commutes: A new census release from Statistics Canada Wednesday is expected to shed light on how people got to work last year, and what kind of jobs they were doing.

5. China’s reformer: Former President Jiang Zemin, who led China out of isolation after the army crushed the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989 and supported economic reforms that led to a decade of explosive growth, is dead at 96.

One more thing…

Royal bill: King Charles III’s three-day tour of Canada earlier this year cost taxpayers at least $1.4 million, according to documents obtained by CTVNews.ca.

In this May 19, 2022 file photo, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, disembark their plane in Yellowknife during part of the Royal Tour of Canada. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

How to apply for Canada's new rental and dental benefits – CTV News

Published

 on


Starting on Thursday, eligible Canadians can apply through the Canada Revenue Agency to receive funding as part of the first ever federal dental-care program, and as of Dec. 12 applications will open for low-income renters looking to access the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit.

On Nov. 17 the NDP-backed Liberal affordability bill bringing in both the dental-care benefit and rental boost for lower-income Canadians—known as Bill C-31—became law. At the time, the government committed to having the application process launched before the end of the year.

On Wednesday, the federal financial agency briefed reporters on how the system will work for Canadians looking to apply for these benefits, billing the system as “streamlined and user-friendly.”

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

The CRA says it will only take a couple of minutes to apply, because there are some upfront verification built into the system, including checking if your 2021 tax return has been filed.

Here’s what you need to know.

WHAT IS THE “CANADA DENTAL BENEFIT”?

For now, the “Canada Dental Benefit” will be offered to children under the age of 12, with an annual family income of less than $90,000, with the amount provided per child per year dependant on family income.

For example:

  • $650 would be provided per child if the family’s adjusted net income is under $70,000;
  • $390 would be provided per child if the family’s adjusted net income is between $70,000 and $79,999; and
  • $260 would be provided per child if the family’s adjusted net income is between $80,000 and $89,999.

The amount offered is the government’s “best calibration” of how much funding is needed to cover basic dental care—exams, cleanings, X-rays, and fillings— without much left over, according to government officials who briefed reporters on the program in September.

The first phase of dental care will provide eligible parents or guardians with “direct, up-front tax-free payments to cover dental expenses.”

This interim dental benefit is only available for two periods, and parents or caregivers can receive a maximum of two payments for each eligible child.

The first period covers expenses retroactive to Oct. 1, 2022, through to June 30, 2023. The second period will cover dental services the child received between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024.

If a child’s dental care costs more than $650 and the parent or guardian has only applied for one benefit period, they may meet the criteria for an additional payment.

HOW TO APPLY FOR DENTAL COVERAGE

Applicants will have two options to access the online portal: either through their CRA “My Account” or through their Service Canada account. For those without access to the online systems, the CRA is setting up a dedicated dental benefit phone line to receive applications.

Either way, those applying will have to make a series of attestations in order to determine eligibility, as well as answer security questions to verify their identity.

For example, parents or guardians making the application will have to confirm:

  • Their child was born on or after Dec. 2, 2010, making them 12 years old as of Dec. 1, 2022;
  • They are currently receiving the Canada Child Benefit as of Dec. 1, 2022;
  • Their child does not have access to private dental care coverage nor are their costs fully covered by another dental program provided by any other level of government;
  • They will have out-of-pocket dental care expenses for which they will use the benefit; and
  • They have filed their 2021 income tax and benefit return.

Applicants can submit to receive this financial support ahead of appointments, but will have to provide proof of eligibility such as contact information for the dental service provider, date of the appointment, and information related to their employer and spouse or partner related to their benefit coverage.

The CRA is highly recommending signing up for direct deposit as the fastest and easiest way to receive this funding, noting that the estimated wait time for payments is five business days if signed up for direct deposit, whereas it could take 10 business days to receive a cheque by mail.

The law has also set up a process for bureaucrats to check eligibility information—including contacting employers—and there could be penalties for those who submit fraudulent claims. The CRA is encouraging those who apply to print and save a copy of their applications as well as any relevant documentation such as receipts, in case verification is needed down the line.

For example, if for some reason a parent or guardian applies for funding in the first period but does not end up having dental care expenses during that timeframe, they will be required to repay that amount and reapply for the second eligibility period.

While only those under 12 years old will get access for now, the government says it remains committed to following through on seeing this stop-gap measure become a fully-fledged national dental care plan by 2025.

WHAT ABOUT THE “CANADA HOUSING BENEFIT” TOP-UP?

A for sale sign outside a home indicates that it has been rented, in Ottawa, on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The other form of federal funding that eligible Canadians can soon access is the one-time $500 top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit. The application process for this funding will launch on Monday, Dec. 12, according to the CRA.

This is a program for low-income renters with adjusted net incomes below $35,000 for families, or $20,000 for individuals who pay at least 30 per cent of their adjusted net income on rent and are paying rent for their own primary residence in Canada.

In order to receive this $500 payment to help cover rent, applicants need to confirm they:

  • Have filed their 2021 income tax and benefit return;
  • Are at least 15 years of age as of Dec. 1, 2022;
  • Are a resident in Canada for tax purposes in 2022;
  • Have their principal residence in Canada as of Dec. 1, 2022;
  • Have paid rent for their own shelter in 2022; and
  • Have paid at least 30 per cent of their 2021 adjusted net family income on rent in the 2022 calendar year.

Applicants need to be ready to provide some basic information such as their address, who they paid rent to and how to contact that person, as well as how many months spent at certain residences if they’ve moved throughout the year.

Same as with the dental benefit, the CRA is suggesting direct deposit as the fastest and easiest way to receive this funding. The estimated wait time for payments is five business days if signed up for direct deposit, whereas it could take 10 business days to receive a cheque by mail.

Here too, applicants will have to keep any relevant documentation to back up their application in case the CRA comes calling in the next six years to validate their eligibility. This includes tax slips, rental property receipts, and landlord contact information.

Applicants found to be ineligible will be required to repay the benefit. 

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

Dutch man who harassed B.C. teenager Amanda Todd returned to the Netherlands

Published

 on

Dutch man who harassed B.C. teenager Amanda Todd returned to the Netherlands

The man convicted of harassing and extorting British Columbia teenager Amanda Todd has been returned to the Netherlands, where the prosecution office says a judge will decide if he serves any of his 13-year Canadian sentences.

Canada’s Justice Department says Aydin Coban was taken back to his home country on Nov. 24, where he will continue serving a nearly 11-year sentence imposed by a Dutch court in 2017 for similar crimes involving more than 30 youths.

Coban was extradited to Canada in 2020 to face charges including extortion, harassment and distribution of child pornography related to Todd, who was 15 when she died by suicide at her home in Port Coquitlam, B.C., in October 2012.

Evert Boerstra, press officer with the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service, says a so-called “conversion hearing” will take place now that Coban has been returned, and the court will decide how his Canadian sentence will be converted to Dutch standards.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Boerstra says it will be up to a judge to decide whether Coban will serve the 13-year sentence given to him by a B.C. Supreme Court judge last month, after he finishes his Dutch sentence, which was the maximum that could be imposed.

The press officer says because of the similarity between both cases “there is a chance that after conversion there will be no room left to impose punishment in addition to the Dutch sentence as a result of the Canadian verdict.”

In an email, Boerstra says a date for that hearing has yet to be announced.

Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother, has said she knew at the start of Coban’s nine-week trial in B.C. last June that any sentence would be converted once he returned to the Netherlands.

But it wasn’t until a Dutch reporter contacted her after Coban was convicted in August that Todd said she learned it’s possible he may not serve his Canadian sentence because he was already serving the maximum Dutch term for similar crimes committed around the same time he was harassing her daughter.

Todd has said the Dutch reporter spoke with lawyers who indicatedDutch law also stipulates when someone is convicted and sentenced, then found guilty of the same kind of offence in the same time period, the existing punishment applies.

Todd reached out to Crown prosecutors in B.C. after the publication of the Dutch journalist’s story and they verified that was the law, she said in a recent interview.

During Coban’s trial in New Westminster, B.C., the jury heard he used 22 online aliases to harass Amanda over two years, starting when she was 12 years old.

The trial heard Coban sent photos to Amanda’s family, friends and school administrators of her exposing her breasts because she didn’t comply with his demands to perform sexual “shows” in front of a web camera.

The teenager died by suicide a few weeks after posting a video in which she used flash cards to describe being tormented by an online predator.

Todd said her daughter would have turned 26 over the weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2022.

 

Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Trending