Some firms requiring vaccinations

Oct. 4, 2021 — CAMBRIDGE, Ont.-based insurer Gore Mutual is requiring all of its staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to work in its offices. 

The decision was made after an employee survey at the company found that 75% of its workers said they would feel more comfortable being fully or partially vaccinated, company CEO Andy Taylor said.

“For employees that are not vaccinated, they will be required to provide a negative COVID- 19 test prior to entering the offices,” he told Thompson’s in September. 

“We are also working on requirements for non-employees, if required to be on-site for any reason.” 

The insurer will be among the majority of Canadian businesses, according to a recent poll by professional services firm KPMG which found 62% of small- and medium-sized businesses are making or planning to make vaccinations against COVID-19 mandatory for their employees. 

Some insurance companies contacted by Thompson’s said that they are still working out their vaccination policies. 

“Reflection work is still in progress,” said Jessica Spina, senior adviser, public relations at Desjardins. “Employees who are able to work from home, whether they’re part of the caisse network, the business sectors or the support functions, will continue to telework. 

“Currently, more than 80% of our employees are working from home.” 

KPMG has said many companies are seeking legal guidance on vaccination policies and are weighing their health and safety duties with employee privacy interests. 

A key legal consideration for employers is the actual safety risks in their workplace. KPMG said challenges could arise when an employee refuses to get vaccinated or provide proof of their vaccination status. 

“In general, we recommend that employers receive legal advice when putting in place any COVID-19 safety measures to reduce a wide range of risks,” partner Norm Keith said. 

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