Sask. Human rights code will not accept people refusing vaccination due to “personal preferences”

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According to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC), refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because of “personal preference” is not protected by the province’s human rights code.

“A person who chooses not to be vaccinated because of personal preferences is not entitled to shelter under the Code,” says the SHRC.

The Saskatchewan government’s proof of vaccination or negative test requirement is expected to go into effect province-wide starting Friday. It applies to all employees of provinces and crown corporations, as well as to anyone seeking entry into certain businesses, event venues and other establishments.

Ahead of implementation, the SHRC wrote an article on its website last week to remind people that vaccination warrants requiring proof of immunization or negative tests are “generally permitted” under the Human Rights Code. the person from Saskatchewan – “as long as people who cannot be vaccinated because of a characteristic protected by the Code are reasonably considered.”

The code prohibits discrimination based on the following characteristics:

  • Race / race or perceived color.
  • Place of origin, nationality or ancestry.
  • Religion or belief.
  • Family or marital status.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Gender identity.
  • Sex, including sexual harassment or pregnancy.
  • Disability (physical or mental).
  • Receipt of public aid.
  • Age (18 years or older).

People who are unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine – such as those with certain disabilities – are required under the code to receive reasonable accommodations from their employers and service providers, a the SHRC said, noting that this is when testing requirements could come into play.

“Reasonable accommodation will differ on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons should be prepared to show a supporting doctor’s note, the SHRC added.

The commission said it plans to investigate any complaints of discrimination based on the code’s “protected features”, but will not accept any that cites a personal objection to vaccinations or vaccination warrants.

Collecting information about a person’s immunization status is also not protected by the code, the committee noted. However, he said this information should be collected and stored in accordance with privacy laws.


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