GM Canada announced this week that it would drop its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for its employees as of Sunday, June 26th, 2022.
According to The Detroit News, GM Canada’s decision to drop its vaccination requirement comes days after Stellantis decided to drop a similar mandate for Canadian employees. Stellantis was forced to drop the vaccination requirement after an Ontario arbitrator deemed the policy “no longer reasonable,” due to the vaccine’s waning efficacy against the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The arbitrator, Marilyn Nairn, also said there is a “negligible difference in the risk of transmission in respect of Omicron as between a two-dose vaccine regimen and remaining unvaccinated,” at the moment.
While GM Canada and Stellantis have dropped their vaccination requirements, Ford employees are still required to have at least two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. The automaker’s Canadian arm recently extended the expiration date of its vaccination policy from May 2nd to July 4th, as well.
GM Canada implemented its vaccination requirement for all employees and visitors on December 12th, 2021. The automaker placed a number of employees on unpaid leave that did not get vaccinated, with these employees later facing termination if they did not receive a valid vaccination regimen. GM Canada’s vaccine mandate stirred controversy within the labor union, as many workers expressed frustration that GM did not have the same rules in place for its U.S. facilities. GM Canada was the automaker’s only global operation to require vaccination against COVID-19 for its employees.
GM Canada dropped its facemask mandate back in March after the province of Ontario removed the majority of its rules for required masking. GM Canada’s largest facility is the Oshawa Assembly plant in Ontario, which employs roughly 1,800 people building the Chevy Silverado and Silverado HD pickups. Other GM Canada facilities include CAMI Assembly in Ingersoll, Ont. and St. Catharines Propulsion in nearby St. Catharines, Ont.