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e-3934 (Employment and labour)

E-petition
Initiated by Serge Gélinas from Saint-Laurent, Quebec

Original language of petition: French

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • The federal government has consistently renewed the Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation Due to COVID-19 since 2021;
  • All provinces have or will end the various restrictions related to COVID-19;
  • This interim order is no longer required;
  • Currently, some employers are using this interim order to threaten their employees with job termination;
  • Some of these employees have been on unpaid leave since 2021; and
  • Furthermore, they are not eligible for employment insurance and, lastly, they are threatened with job termination.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Immediately repeal the Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation Due to COVID 19;
2. Ensure that people are free to work in the aviation industry in Canada regardless of their vaccination status; and
3. Compel the federal government to respect the fundamental rights of workers and respect all the basic freedoms that make our democracy unique, such as freedom of choice.

Response by the Minister of Labour

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): TERRY SHEEHAN

Note that this response only applies to the following statement in the petition: 3. Compel the federal government to respect the fundamental rights of workers and respect all the basic freedoms that make our democracy unique, such as freedom of choice.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, keeping Canadians safe and healthy has been the top priority of the Government of Canada. Throughout this difficult period, the Government of Canada, through the federal Labour Program, has protected the rights of workers in federally regulated sectors, while taking significant steps to ensure that their workplaces are protected from the spread of COVID-19.

Going forward, the Labour Program will continue to protect the rights and well-being of both workers and employers in federally regulated workplaces.

Response by the Minister of Transport

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Omar Alghabra

Throughout the pandemic, the Government of Canada has prioritized the health and safety of Canadians.

Recognizing the importance and critical nature of the transportation sector for Canadians and for the economy, Transport Canada has taken actions throughout the pandemic to ensure the safety and security of the transportation network, its employees and its users.

Part 1.  Immediately repeal the Interim Order Respecting Certain Requirements for Civil Aviation Due to COVID 19

The Government of Canada’s response to the pandemic has evolved over the past two years as more was learned about the virus, including the variants of concern that have followed the initial outbreak in early 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has provided guidance and considerations on recommended public health measures, at both the individual and community level, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of people living in Canada as well as those travelling inbound to Canada. PHAC’s guidance is informed by scientific evidence, expert opinion and established public health practices.

Any decision to remove COVID-19 measures will be based on a number of factors, including the epidemiological situation in Canada and abroad, the emergence of new variants of concern, and considerations from PHAC. As the pandemic has evolved, so have public health measures in the context of the transportation sector. Where the science and public health advice allows for the easing of measures, the Government of Canada will not hesitate to do so, as demonstrated by the changes to travel and border measures, announced on February 28 and April 1 of this year.

Finding a responsible balance between measures that protect Canadians’ safety when travelling and setting the stage for lives to increasingly return to normal, and for the Canadian economy and businesses to recover, is critical. 

The Government of Canada continues to take a risk-based and measured approach to re-opening the border and adjusting travel related measures, as well as rely on the advice of its public health specialists while prioritizing the health and safety of Canadians.

Part 2.  Ensure that people are free to work in the aviation industry in Canada regardless of their vaccination status

The Government of Canada continues to monitor COVID-19 epidemiological indicators to quickly detect, understand and communicate emerging issues of concern.

The vaccination mandate introduced in the aviation context following the Prime Minister’s announcement on October 6, 2021, has helped to ensure that passengers and sector employees are protected from severe outcomes associated with contracting COVID-19. Additionally, because vaccination for employees reduced the frequency and severity of the COVID-19 illness amongst employees, the vaccination mandate has helped minimize the disruptions in transportation workforces to ensure the efficient movement of people and essential goods. In Canada’s transportation sector, there have been no major disruptions caused by COVID-19 related illnesses, including variants of concern, such as Omicron, since the implementation of the vaccination mandate. As of April 19, 2022, the data received on the number of Canadian air, rail, and marine employees who were unable to work due to COVID-19 was 0.64%. This relatively low figure has meant that operators were able to safely function throughout the Omicron wave without affecting the supply chain demand.

On June 14, 2022, the Government of Canada announced that as of June 20, it will suspend vaccination requirements for federally regulated transportation sectors; employers in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine sectors will no longer be required to have mandatory vaccination policies in place for employees.

As Canada moves into a transition phase and beyond, the best advantage going forward will be to maintain vigilance and not forget learned personal protective habits amassed thus far. At the individual level, this can be best achieved by keeping COVID-19 vaccinations up to date, including getting a booster dose, when eligible. It may also be achieved by continuing to observe public health advice tailored to local epidemiology and circumstances to guide individual and family risk assessment and decisions on personal protective practices.

 

Open for signature
March 30, 2022, at 10:24 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
April 29, 2022, at 10:24 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Melissa Lantsman (Thornhill)
May 17, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00477)
Government response tabled
August 17, 2022
Photo - Melissa Lantsman
Thornhill
Conservative Caucus
Ontario
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