- The COVID-19 vaccination mandate, as well as other government immunization rules, will be repealed by the House of Commons on June 20.
- The Conservatives, the only caucus on Capitol Hill that does not publish their members’ vaccination status, resisted the idea, which only allowed for a limited exemption.
- Members of Parliament can now vote from anywhere in the country, thanks to the House’s remote voting scheme.
On June 20, the House of Commons will repeal the COVID-19 vaccine mandate and other federal immunization regulations.
Government House Leader Mark Holland introduced a resolution to postpone the vaccination obligation on Thursday, receiving unanimous support from all parties. A mask mandate enforced by the House is still in effect.
Members of Parliament have been debating whether or not to lift the mandate this week after the federal govt stated that COVID-19 vaccination obligations for the public sector, as well as domestic and international Canadian travelers, will be phased out on Monday.
Since the opening day of the 44th Parliament in November 2021, anybody entering the House of Commons precinct has been required to be completely vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Board of Internal Economy imposed the mandate, a cross-party committee of MPs that regulates the workings of the House of Commons, at a time when the vaccination status of MPs was receiving a lot of attention.
While the Speaker of the House of Commons eventually ruled that the board had gone too far in imposing the mandate on MPs, the policy was reaffirmed by a motion supported by the Liberals and the NDP.
House Speaker Anthony Rota said that “the safety and health of all persons entering the House of Commons precinct stays a priority” in a statement declaring that the board has also decided to cancel the necessity for individuals, including such staff as well as journalists, to be immunized against COVID-19 to be able to enter the precinct.
The Conservatives, the only caucus on the Hill not to reveal their MPs’ vaccination status, fought the proposal, which provided a limited exemption.
Individuals who could demonstrate a valid “medical contraindication” to COVID-19 immunizations were required to produce proof of a recent negative quick antigen test to access the House precinct buildings. The Senate has an immunization policy distinct from the rest of the country.
On June 23, the House of Commons is set to adjourn for the summer, though it is not uncommon for MPs to agree to adjourn earlier. The remaining hybrid sitting provisions, which have been in existence for the better part of the pandemic, is set to leave by the end of the last appointed sitting day of the month.
MPs can now electronically participate in House debates and committee meetings under current procedures. The House has also built up a remote voting program that allows members of Parliament to vote virtually from anywhere in the country.
Conservative House Leader John Brassard voiced optimism in the House on Thursday, saying, “We have pushed past the hybrid Parliament system, and we are going to restore this place in a normal sense and return to normalcy.”
Source: CTV News