The Trudeau government is refusing to repay the lost salaries of civil servants who were suspended for declining to get the Covid-19 vaccine now that the federal mandate has been lifted.
Without hesitation, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc immediately shut down reporters who asked whether unvaccinated workers would be compensated.
“Absolutely not,” said LeBlanc before leaving the press conference.
The announcement came just as the Liberal government announced a change to its pandemic protocol.
As of June 20, unvaccinated Canadians will be able to board a train or a plane to travel domestically and internationally.
Additionally, unvaccinated federal workers will be able to return to their jobs. The move came after mounting pressure from the public and industry groups surrounding airport delays and cancellations.
Nearly 2,000 federal employees were suspended from their job without leave for not being fully vaccinated, according to the Treasury Board of Canada.
Several major unions including the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) have launched grievance actions on behalf of the impacted employees.
“With all due respect to Minister LeBlanc, our policy grievances on behalf of workers on leave without pay are a legal issue, not a political one, so we’ll leave the rhetoric to the lawyers on this one,” said PSAC President Chris Aylward.
According to CAPE President Greg Phillips, his union will also seek paid compensation for lost salaries of workers.
“CAPE has filed several individual grievances for employees put on leave without pay due to the mandatory vaccination mandate, and we will seek reimbursement of their lost salary, wherever possible,” said Phillips.
“We are disappointed to hear of minister’s Leblanc comment, nonetheless we will pursue this matter before the Federal Public Section Labour Relations and Employment Board to obtain a decision.”
PIPSC has accused the government of not respecting the rights of its workers by launching a review of its vaccination policy.
“We are confident in our rights, the government did not respect its policy by not carrying out the appropriate review in the allotted time,” said a PIPSC spokesperson.