COVID-19 Vaccination Policies and Records of Employment: New Guidance from Service Canada
As employers continue to implement vaccination policies in their workplaces, practical questions have arisen as to how to manage employee terminations should there be continued refusals to comply with such policies. Employment and Social Development Canada (“Service Canada”) has recently updated its website to provide guidance on how to issue records of employment (“ROEs”) for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic and in particular, in the context of employment impacts arising from vaccination policies.
In particular, Service Canada is providing the following direction to employers in respect of the codes to be used in Block 16:
When the employee doesn’t report to work because they refuse to comply with your mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, use code E (quit) or code N (leave of absence).
When you suspend or terminate an employee for not complying with your mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, use code M (dismissal).
Further, Service Canada has noted that where such a code is used in this context, the employer may receive an inquiry to determine the following information:
- if the employer adopted and clearly communicated to all employees a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy;
- if the employees were informed that failure to comply with the policy would result in loss of employment;
- if the application of the policy to the employee was reasonable within the workplace context;
- if there were any exemptions for refusing to comply with the policy.
 “EI information for employers – COVID-19”, Government of Canada (date modified, October 15, 2021), online: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/ei-roe/notice-covid-19.html.