VIA Rail Violates Code of Conduct for Fire Technicians Over Vaccination Status, Federal Arbitrator’s Rule

A federal arbitrator has ruled that VIA Rail violated the Canadian Labor Code when it terminated the employment of a locomotive operator in January 2022 because of its vaccination status.

According to a BlackRock reporter, arbitrator Graham Clarke ruled that Crown Corporation VIA Rail did not have “justifiable and sufficient reasons” to fire an engineer who refused to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Louison Tessier had been a railroad engineer for nearly 20 years when he was fired without pay on January 24, 2022 for failing to be vaccinated against COVID.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, which represents Tessier, challenged the VIA decision, citing the union’s contract that union members cannot be dismissed “without a fair and impartial hearing.”

In his ruling, Clark wrote that VIA “determined on its own initiative to add additional disciplinary action to employees who had not been vaccinated,” and at the time the company did not explain why the company fired Tessier. He said there were no “new recommendations from public health officials” to back it up. .

“VIA has not explained why it was necessary to terminate Mr. Tessier’s employment immediately rather than leave him on unpaid leave on January 24,” Clark wrote.

“The policy was irrational.”

Clarke ordered Via Rail to rehire Tessier and remove any mention of him being fired from the company in January 2022 from his employment file.

However, the ruling did not include an order for VIA to compensate Tessier, pending negotiations between Tessier’s union and the railroad.

Federal Vaccine Directive

In November 2022, a group of hundreds of federal officials launched a legal challenge to Ottawa’s COVID vaccine mandate. This will come into force in October 2021 and Suspended in June 2022.

Government orders required all federal employees to receive two doses of vaccinations or be suspended without pay unless they obtained an approved exemption through policy.

The challenge to the mandate, initiated by the Quebec-based group United Servants, will make it impossible for the government to “enforce previous policies such as vaccine mandates again,” said Barnard, the group’s coordinator. ” Aiming to obtain a court verdict.

When it suspended the mandate in June 2022, the government said it could reintroduce the mandate if “scientific evidence” indicated a need for further public health measures.

At the time, Treasury Canada said: 2,100+ federal employeesMakes up less than 2% of the federal workforce.

Isaac Teo contributed to this report.