This was not the time for the delicate questions on Tuesday. It was the day of the announcement of the Great Dismantling. Open verandas, round bells, polishing keys: we’re back to life.
But after the deserved tribute to medical science and national discipline, the question arises: What do you do with the reluctant and rebellious injection of the vaccine?
I mean: for any activity, especially for any job, can we require proof of vaccination?
Our laws guarantee the inviolability of the person and the right to refuse treatment. You cannot be vaccinated by force.
But this right not to be vaccinated does not include an inalienable right to enter any country, do extreme karaoke in a submarine, or do any work without vaccination.
The obvious examples are those of people who work with vulnerable people. We think CHSLD. We think of hospitals on the front line. It goes without saying that these workers must be vaccinated to protect everyone.
Lawyer Cedric Marsan Lavond, who specializes in labor law, told me there are no court decisions yet on COVID-19, but there is a precedent for the 2008 flu.
In this case in the Rimouski area, CHSLD employees were suspended without pay for 72 hours for refusing the flu vaccine. There has been an outbreak in CHSLD and those who have not been vaccinated have been sent home, which is a good time to see if they are showing symptoms, as the staff has become contagious even before feeling ill …
(Does that remind you of a virus?)
The union appealed this suspension, but lost out to the umpire, and then to the Supreme Court. You can refuse the vaccine … But you cannot get paid at home because you have become too dangerous for the sick.
In the case of a more dangerous and more contagious virus like the one facing the entire world, the same reasoning applies even more.
But let’s step outside of healthcare. Many jobs involve communicating with an audience. A person who is not immune can put agents at risk. Even vaccinated clients, because vaccines are not 100% effective.
“It will be on a case-by-case basis, but the employer must prove that by virtue of the nature of his work and the type of position the person occupies, the request for vaccination is justified,” says M.e Marcin Lavond.
Some people may refuse the vaccination for medical or even religious reasons. In this case, the employer must find “reasonable accommodation”: remote work, job change.
But it is clear that these options do not always exist. And if the vaccine requirements are reasonable, in terms of jobs, there will be instances when the choice is to get vaccinated or lose your job.
The topic is too delicate to bring up frankly at the moment, Horacio Arruda explained at a press conference. We are still in the stage of encouragement, education and multiplying.
But now that almost anyone can be vaccinated, and like “almost everyone” tomorrow … there will be lines that need to be drawn.
Sooner or later, the message should be sent: The right not to be vaccinated exists. But not being vaccinated means being restricted to certain functions.
Means you are excluded from certain countries.
It means not participating in certain activities.
There is no unlimited right to culture, sport or entertainment, so why not require a gymnasium, entertainment venue, or boat owner for proof of vaccination?
We have charters to prevent discrimination. But distinction, when made on a rational basis, is sometimes justified, even necessary, for the sake of the common good.
This next group discussion will be … on the balcony, soon, soon …