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December 20, 2020 | The Choice

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.

One stormy day last week this blog said getting the virus jab was a moral, ethical imperative for every citizen. Part of the social contract. The only doorway out of this economic and social mess. Responsible people therefore do not have a choice. You wince and take it.

Predictably, a bunch of readers huffed off to Zerohedge, calling me a candyass libtard eunuch. Some of them also think Trump won, Covid’s just the flu and Rudy Giuliani didn’t melt. They are angry people destined to stay that way. As I wrote recently, the first step in dealing with the stress this pathogen has created is to stop blaming others – public health officers, governments, pharma, politicians or China. Let’s talk instead of getting out of the hole.

Many came here to argue that they’ll wait to take the vax until others – like old people – are used as guinea pigs to prove it is safe. Not only did I label this cowardice, but said nobody would ride herd immunity for free. Proof of vaccination as 2021 rolls out will be required for everything from getting on an airplane to watching the Maple Leafs lose again to keeping your job.

That last point – employment – is consequential. Any anti-vaxers or hesitators should understand the law and what’s coming. Most people don’t quite yet. For example, recent polls found 55% of NYC firefighters don’t want to be vaxed, thinking they can avoid it. Only 42% of African Americans trust the vaccine. The overall rate for the US is 62%. In Canada it appears to be 64%.

The anti-vax movement has been fueled by politics, the same live-free-or-die machismo than made some folks resist masks and exaggerates potential harm or side effects. A video of a nurse fainting after taking the serum late last week was seized upon by the Luddites. But it soon emerged she had a condition that often causes a swoon. More Internet junk – the kind that made 75 million Americans think Joe Biden stole an election. We live in a dangerous time, clearly.

Well, here’s the point of this post: for most people there will be no choice between vaccination and employment.

On Friday Americans gained insight into this as the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published its guidance on Covid, employer rights, employee obligations, the vaccine and labour law. You can read it all here.

The conclusion was clear: requiring that an employee be vaxed against Covid does not constitute a medical intrusion or a personal rights violation (as would a mandatory blood test or breathe analysis, for example). Therefore it’s a legal request. In fact, even if an employee refuses vaccination for medical or religious reasons, they can still be terminated. See this…

K.7. What happens if an employer cannot exempt or provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee who cannot comply with a mandatory vaccine policy because of a disability or sincerely held religious practice or belief? (12/16/20)

If an employee cannot get vaccinated for COVID-19 because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance, and there is no reasonable accommodation possible, then it would be lawful for the employer to exclude the employee from the workplace.

It’s reasonable to assume Canadian guidance will be the same. But already employment lawyers here have come to the conclusion that (as this blog spelled out) employers cannot be forced to shoulder the liability for allowing non-vaxed workers into the workplace. Instead, bosses have an overriding responsibility to protect people. The wussiness of a few cannot abrogate the security of the many.

Says Ryan Watkins, of Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers: “With a highly contagious virus that has caused a global pandemic, if there’s an antidote, employers are within their rights to require employees to take it to keep the rest of the workforce safe.” In fact, employees who refuse the jab can be dismissed without cause, especially in jobs where they interact with the public – like working in a store, restaurant, supermarket, seniors’ home or hair salon.

What if a worker here claims they cannot be vaxed for religious or medical reason? Lawyer Howard Levitt (Levitt Sheikh Chaudhri Swann Employment & Labour Law) says too bad. Employers have the law on their side since they are obligated to operate workplaces that are safe and compliant with the necessary standard of care. There is no question the courts will make a refusal to be vaccinated a cause for discharge. In fact Ontario has a law spelling out a $10-million fine for Covid-19 carelessness by employers. “Any one of these negligence actions for death, and maybe proximate deaths of family members who then end up dying or getting permanently immunocompromised, can bankrupt a lot of Canadian companies,” he says.

By the way, don’t expect to find this information on an alt-right blog. They’d rather lie, and keep you clicking. What a world we have wrought.

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December 20th, 2020

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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