ONTARIO – The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released a ruling on Wednesday, Sept. 22 stating that those who choose not to get the vaccine based on personal preference do not have the right to accommodation under the Human Rights Code (Code).
“Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary. At the same time, the OHRC’s position is that a person who chooses not to be vaccinated based on personal preference does not have the right to accommodation under the Code. The OHRC is not aware of any tribunal or court decision that found a singular belief against vaccinations or masks amounted to a creed within the meaning of the Code,” reads a statement from the OHRC.
“Even if a person could show they were denied a service or employment because of a creed-based belief against vaccinations, the duty to accommodate does not necessarily require they be exempted from vaccine mandates, certification or COVID testing requirements. The duty to accommodate can be limited if it would significantly compromise health and safety amounting to undue hardship – such as during a pandemic,” the OHRC statement goes on to read.
The OHRC ruling states that mandating vaccination or requiring proof of vaccination is generally permissible, as long as accommodations are made for those who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons.
OHRC did say that as a part of an organizations duty to accommodate those who cannot be vaccinated, they should cover the costs of COVID-19 testing as required.
The OHRC also called on the province to ensure that proof of vaccination requirements and vaccination mandates not remain in place for longer than is deemed necessary and that the current state of the pandemic should be reviewed regularly. Furthermore, they say that the province must ensure there are safeguards to protect the privacy of individuals.
Read the full decision here.