Lack of worker vaccine requirement in Alberta a 'loophole,' says health law expert
That Alberta's Restrictions Exemption Program could mean unvaccinated workers will serve customers who were asked to prove their full COVID-19 immunization is either a loophole or an oversight, says a University of Alberta professor.
"It must just be part of the kerfuffle surrounding the rollout. I mean, that's the generous interpretation," Timothy Caulfield told CTV News Edmonton. Caulfield serves as director of the U of A's Health Law Institute as well as the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy.
"The less generous interpretation is that someone actually put their mind to this and still came to this conclusion – because it makes no sense to me at all."
The Restrictions Exemption Program allows businesses to sidestep most public health measures if they either require a recent negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination from customers.
The exemption program has several exemptions itself: children under 12 who are not eligible for vaccine, essential businesses, and employees of businesses participating in the program – such as workers at restaurants or movie theatres.
"I just don't think it's fair to (Albertans) to be coming into these establishments and then to be served by someone who isn't vaccinated," Caulfield said.
"It's a huge loophole in the system."
When Alberta's chief medical officer of health was asked about the apparent glitch, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the program was modelled after other provinces'.
"We noted that there's no other province that has extended those mandates to employees of affected businesses. So the program in Alberta is consistent with other provincial mandates," Hinshaw told CTV News Edmonton on Thursday.
"Employers may choose to require employees to be immunized; that certainly is something that's within their rights to do."
- 'Staff should also be doing it': Workers at non-essential businesses not included in Ontario's vaccine passport plan
- B.C. vaccine card rules may not apply to staff at venues requiring proof of vaccination
Caulfield said including employees would be the best way to increase vaccine uptake.
American President Joe Biden's vaccine requirements plan would mandate the COVID-19 shot for federal workers, private employers with more than 100 employees, educators, and most health-care workers.
Edmonton Top Stories