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Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

On this page

1 Effective date of this policy

2 Authorities

3 Objectives and expected results

4 Requirements

President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

Delegated managers


Human Resources Branch

5 Roles and responsibilities of other government departments

Chief Human Resources Officer

Treasury Board of Canada

Health Canada

Canada School of Public Service

6 Application

7 Consequences of non-compliance

8 References


Related policy instruments

Additional information

9 Enquiries

10 Approval

This Policy on COVID-19 Vaccinations for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been approved by:

Digitally signed by Ianiro, Robert

Robert Ianiro
Vice President, Human Resources

Digitally signed on November 4, 2021


Digitally signed by Siddika Mithani

Siddika Mithani, Ph.D.

Digitally signed on November 4, 2021


Appendix A: Definitions

Attestation deadline (date limite de présentation de l'attestation)

The date by which an employee's attestations must be entered in the GC-VATS, or provided to managers if the employee does not have access to the GC-VATS:

  • November 22, 2021, including for employees on "Other Leave With Pay (699)" for reasons related to the pandemic; or
  • 2 weeks after return from leave if the return from leave is after November 8, 2021; or
  • 2 weeks after the date on which an employee has been informed of their manager's decision that the duty to accommodate does not apply; or
  • For employees who, for reasons related to their current position, are unable to attest to their vaccination status, or do not have access to vaccines for the period extending from November 8 to November 22, the attestation deadline is 2 weeks from the date they have access to each, as determined by their manager, and notwithstanding their leave status.
Clinical Trial Participants – Not fully vaccinatedFootnote 1 (as of November 8, 2021) (participants aux essais cliniques – pas entièrement vaccinés (à partir du 8 novembre 2021))

Employees who are participating, or have participated, in a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccination study should be considered to be not fully vaccinated. Employees should use the accommodation process until such time that either:

  • The study is completed, Health Canada authorizes the COVID-19 vaccine, and the employee can disclose that they are fully vaccinated as per this policy.
  • The employee withdraws from the study or is informed they received a placebo, or Health Canada declines authorization of the study vaccine. At that time, the employee is expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with Health Canada authorized vaccine as per the Public Health Agency of Canada or the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendations. The employee will be given 4 weeks from any of the preceding events occurring to begin their COVID-19 vaccine series unless they are eligible for a different accommodation. When they complete their primary vaccination, they should disclose this information as per this policy and will then be considered fully vaccinated and will no longer require accommodation.
  • There may be additional exceptions that would need to be addressed on an individual basis (for example, participants in clinical trials outside of Canada, employees who received non-Health Canada approved vaccines outside of work-related postings).
Employees (employés)

For the purpose of this policy, "employees" is used throughout to simplify the text.

It means employees of the CFIA and includes the following regardless of whether they work on-site or telework (full time or part-time):

  • indeterminate employees
  • determinate or term employees
  • internationally based CFIA employees

For the purpose of this policy, it also includesFootnote 2:

  • "as required" workers (casuals)
  • students
  • contractors
  • visiting scientists working in CFIA laboratories or elsewhere in CFIA workplaces;
  • the principles of this policy are applicable to employees on interchange from, or to, the CFIA and volunteers

Unvaccinated employees are grouped in 3 categories:

  1. Partially vaccinated employees (employés partiellement vaccinés)
    • For the purpose of this policy "partially vaccinated employees" means employees who have received 1 dose of a Health Canada authorized vaccine, but who have not received a full vaccination series, and do not meet the definition of fully vaccinated below.
  2. Employees unable to be fully vaccinated (employés qui ne peuvent pas être entièrement vaccinés)
    • For the purpose of this policy "employees unable to be fully vaccinated" means employees that cannot be fully vaccinated due to a certified medical contraindication, religion, or any other prohibited ground of discrimination as defined in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
  3. Employees unwilling to be fully vaccinated (employés qui refusent d'être entièrement vaccinés)
    • For the purpose of this policy "employees unwilling to be fully vaccinated" means employees refusing to disclose their vaccination status (whether they are fully vaccinated or not), employees for whom accommodations for a certified medical contraindication, religion, or another prohibited ground of discrimination is not granted and where the employees are still unwilling to be vaccinated, and employees who have attested that they are unvaccinated.
Employer (employeur)

Under this policy, "employer" means the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Full Implementation Date (date de mise en œuvre complète)

The date by which the testing regime will be in place for employees unable to be vaccinated, and at which consequences will begin to apply to those employees unwilling to be fully vaccinated.

Fully Vaccinated – COVID-19Footnote 1 (employees vaccinated in Canada as of November 8, 2021) (entièrement vacciné – COVID-19 (employés vaccinés au Canada à partir du 8 novembre 2021))

People are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after they have either:

  • received both doses of a Health Canada authorized vaccine that requires 2 doses to complete the vaccination series (as of September 16, 2021): Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine, or AstraZeneca Vaxzevria COVID-19 vaccine
  • received mixed dose vaccination series are accepted as long as it aligns with NACI Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines
  • received 1 dose of a Health Canada authorized vaccine that only requires 1 dose to complete the vaccination series (as of September 16, 2021): Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine
  • for current residents of Quebec only, have had a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection followed by at least 1 dose of a Health Canada authorized COVID-19 vaccine
Fully Vaccinated – COVID-19Footnote 1 (employees vaccinated outside of Canada as of November 8, 2021) (employés vaccinés à l'extérieur Canada à partir du 8 novembre 2021)

People are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after they have either:

  • received 1 additional dose of an mRNA vaccine at least 28 days after a complete or incomplete course/series of a non-Health Canada authorized vaccine (for example, may be applicable for employees who were posted abroad who received a non-Health Canada authorized vaccination and have now returned to Canada)
  • met the definition for fully vaccinated in the jurisdiction in which they currently reside (such as for employees posted abroad who have not yet returned to Canada)
  • received 3 doses of any COVID-19 vaccine regardless if they are Health Canada authorized vaccines or non-Health Canada authorized vaccines
Government of Canada Vaccine Attestation Tracking System (GC-VATS) (système de suivi des attestations de vaccination du Gouvernement du Canada – SSAV-GC)

GC-VATS is a user-friendly web platform within the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Application Portal (TAP). The GC-VATS will allow employees to attest to the status of their COVID-19 vaccinations and store the attestations.

GC-VATS will centrally store the attestations and provide access to aggregated data to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, in compliance with the Privacy Act and the security requirements. Similarly, heads of Separate Agencies and agency Heads of Human Resources will have access to departmental-level aggregated data.

Vaccination (vaccination)

Vaccination is the term used for receiving a vaccine, usually through an injection.

Vaccine (vaccin)

A vaccine is a substance used to stimulate the immune system and provide immunity against 1 or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease.

Workplace (lieu de travail)

Means any place where an employee is engaged in work for the employee's employer, as per the Canada Labour Code, Part II. For the purpose of this policy, this includes employees working on site, remotely, and teleworking (full time or part time).

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