COVID-19 Restriction Exemption Program and Communicable Disease Prevention
Overview, Directives and Guidance
Safety for our members, staff, contractors, partners, and volunteers is our top priority, and as such, we will continue to implement policies and procedures as directed by Public Health Authorities and fit them into our operation concerning vaccination and the prevention of viral spread. IGA members have a professional obligation to adhere to provincial health orders and monitor for changes to those orders and understand their legal rights and responsibilities regarding vaccination requirements.
IGA Operations, Administration and Board Policy
From an operational and administrative point of view the IGA will once again be taking its cues from health experts and government health authorities across Canada. Effective December 1, 2021, the IGA will require proof of vaccination, or a government approved negative test in the past 72 hours, to participate in all in-person outdoor and indoor programs. This includes but is not limited to, all staff, contractors, volunteers, partners, and members who are participating in IGA courses, professional development programs, exams, sanctioned events, and/or meetings.
Evolving Changes to Guidelines and Standard Practices
Risk management is our number one priority. We want to ensure the health and safety of all our staff, contractors, volunteers and members is taken care of. While other safety measures, such as masking, sanitizing and physical distancing, will continue to be required, we believe that vaccination along with government approved proof of vaccination, or proof of a government approved covid 19 test within the past 72 hours, is the best way to protect our health and reduce the spread of infection.
As our collective knowledge evolves, and government and public health regulations change, the IGA and its members need to continue to follow suit and adapt their guidelines and standard practices to follow. In situations that seem grey to you, err on the side of caution, and return to past guiding specific guidance.
Suggestions for IGA Members, Guides and Guide Companies:
Transparency with Staff and Clients
- Inform staff and clients that you are following the current provincial guidelines and provide them with the necessary tools to access that information.
- Make your policies on vaccination requirements and viral spread reduction (COVID-19 Safety Plan) known to all your staff and clients.
- Clarify with all staff and clients that their agreement to work on and/or participate in the trip confirms their agreement to abide by your COVID-19 Safety Plan.
- Inform staff and clients that despite all precautions, contracting the virus is still a possibility.
COVID 19 Safety Plans
- Alberta: OHS Publication. COVID-19 as a workplace hazard (alberta.ca)
- British Columbia: COVID-19 Safety Plan | WorkSafeBC
- Ontario Covid 19 Workplace Safety Plan/Ontario.ca
Legal Rights and Responsibilities with respect to Vaccination
If an IGA member is an independent contractor and has no employees, then their only concern will be with respect to their clients and/or the company they are contracting for. An independent contractor has the right to require proof of vaccination as a term of their service. Hiring a guide is a discretionary activity and the guide has the right to require vaccinations of their clientele if they so choose. There is no requirement that they accommodate their clientele on either religious or medical grounds.
Employees and Employers
The general rule of law is that an employer is allowed to bring in a vaccine mandate subject to exceptions for religious or health concerns. This restriction is also contemplated under the various human rights legislation.
An employee who has legitimate health issues, documented by an appropriate medical doctor, has the right to expect an accommodation from an employer. A legitimate health issue is not something that is stated on the internet or on someone’s blog but rather must be from a recognized medical professional. An employee can be required to supply satisfactory documentation explaining the health issue. This also applies to employees seeking an accommodation on religious grounds. The objection based on religion must be of an established religion and not one made up for the purpose of vaccine avoidance.
An employee who does not have legitimate and documented health concerns or legitimate religious concerns can be mandated to be vaccinated as a condition of employment. If the employee refuses the employer has the right to terminate the employment. In the case of either legitimate health or religious concerns an employer has a duty to accommodate the employee. However, that in and of itself does not prevent the employer from terminating if they pay severance or provide proper notice of termination.
Employment law allows an employer to terminate without cause so long as proper severance is paid. The amount of severance required to be paid is set out in the provincial or territorial employment standards acts, make sure to check the acts for more information.
Covid REP Document Check Process/Details of Implementation
Start Date: December 1, 2021
Individuals born in 2009 and earlier that are participating in any in-person IGA courses, events, meetings, professional development or other programming will be required to show:
- Proof of vaccination/QR code; or
- Proof of a negative privately paid test result from a sample that is taken within the prior 72 hours, or
- An original (non-copied) medical exemption letter.
- Valid personal ID
Acceptable proof of vaccination includes:
- Valid Government of Alberta Vaccination QR code
- Other Provincial vaccine records
- First Nation vaccine records
- Canadian Armed Forces vaccine records
- ArriveCan app and valid international travel identity document
Number of doses required:
- Two doses of a two-dose series are required, with the second at least 14 days prior. (Note that the Janssen vaccine is the only Health Canada approved vaccine that requires only a single dose for a complete series – if an individual has received one dose of a Janssen vaccine at least two weeks prior, this would be considered sufficient)