BRAUN: Stand firm on vaccine certificates, says HR specialist

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No shirt, no shoes, no service — everyone knows that sign.


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No vaccine certificate, no service should be just as straightforward.

Whether you have an enhanced Ontario vaccine passport with a QR code or just your old paper copy, showing proof of vaccination is a reality at bars, gyms, restaurants, movie theatres, and innumerable other places.

Now that most of the official government dithering appears to be over, the final frontier is having to get your employees to enforce that vaccine requirement at your business.

We’ve all seen enough YouTube footage of irate Costco shoppers screaming about their inalienable rights to know that some people may behave badly when asked for their vaccine passport.

The specialists at Peninsula HR Canada can help you train staff to politely ask for someone’s proof of vaccination — which could be awkward for some workers — how to refuse someone entry, and how to de-escalate a situation.


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Patrick Stepanian, head of the legal team at Peninsula HR Canada, said there are some immediate things that can be done to protect your employees from being hassled. 

Put up a notice stating clearly that vaccination proof is required. If possible, have two staff members working together to ask for vaccine status, because if there’s an issue, it’s helpful to have a colleague nearby.

It’s also harder to argue with two people.

Stepanian says what’s required in all this is clear communication and the right attitude.

“Staff can be somewhat sympathetic, but make a clear stance,” he said, adding that even if a medical exemption letter is presented (which is highly unlikely), you can still draw the line.

“It’s your business, your space. You can explain that you can’t make any exceptions.”


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If there’s any problem or confrontation over a vaccine passport,   “ Stay neutral. Keep your distance. Keep a calm tone.

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“You can say, ‘This is our health and safety policy, and we are going to enforce it. Unless you can show a QR code, please move on.’  Be firm, stay on message.”

In many high-tension situations, said Stepanian, one party often just wants to get something off his or her chest, even if it’s not right.

“You can let them speak, but just repeat your message. And you can say something like, ‘We look forward to seeing you when you do have your QR code.’”

  1. A QR code proving proof of double COVID vaccination.

    All vaccinated Ontarians can now download QR COVID certificates

  2. The unvaccinated are finding themselves unwelcome at mall foodcourts

    WARMINGTON: Unvaccinated? No soup for you!

  3. Virginia McIntosh, co-owner of Breakwall BBQ, brings out the umbrellas for her CafeTO patio, along Queen St. E, just west of Woodbine Ave., on June 10, 2021.

    WARMINGTON: Ford’s vaccine passport plan gives unvaxxed a pass

At its most basic, he added, “it’s like someone spills something in your store. You put out a ‘caution: wet floor’ sign and grab a mop and clean it up, because you don’t want to be sued.

“Here, the potential is, someone is spreading a very contagious disease. You don’t want to open yourself up to liability, so you put in the ventilators, limit capacity, and enforce a vaccine policy. It’s that simple.”


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