Most members of Parliament — and anyone else entering the House of Commons — will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when Parliament returns on Nov. 22.
The Board of Internal Economy, Parliament’s governing body responsible for administrative rules, announced the requirement today.
“This requirement will apply to any person who wishes to enter the House of Commons Precinct, including members and their staff, political research office employees, administration employees, members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, parliamentary business visitors, contractors and consultants,” says a statement from the board.
The statement goes on to say that those with a valid medical reason for avoiding vaccination “will have the option of providing proof of a recent negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test result.”
Liberal MP Anthony Rota is chair of the Board of Internal Economy. The board is made up of nine MPs representing each party elected to Parliament, except the Greens.
Parliament will consider an individual fully vaccinated 14 days after their second dose of a vaccine approved by Health Canada.
The mandatory vaccination policy is in addition to the preventative measures already in place in Parliament, including mandatory masking and the closure of the grounds to the public.
Both the Liberals and NDP required that their candidates be vaccinated during the election campaign, though they did not extend that requirement to staff members. The Bloc Québécois said during the campaign that all of its candidates were vaccinated.
The Conservatives have not released similar vaccination statistics, but the party told CBC News in September that Conservative MPs will follow all public health directives.
Parliament is set to resume on Nov. 22, slightly more than two months after election day.
The office of Pablo Rodriguez, the government house leader, indicated that Parliament may resume under the hybrid model that was used for much of the pandemic, which allows some MPs to attend virtually.
“We believe the hybrid House of Commons worked well earlier this year. We are supportive of continuing to have hybrid sittings of the House and continuing to make use of technology to ensure that Parliament continues to work well for all Canadians,” said Rodriguez’s spokesperson Simon Ross.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet called for the end of the hybrid system shortly after the election, saying that any unvaccinated MPs should stay home.