Poll: Most Canadians think certain unvaccinated workers should be fired

A new poll finds a majority of Canadians agree that workers in certain industries should be given the pink slip for refusing to get a COVID-19 shot.

According to the Angus Reid poll, about 70 per cent of respondents believe airline employees, school teachers, first responders and medical professionals should be fired if they refuse to get vaccinated.

Angus Reid data

Angus Reid Institute

When it comes to restaurant employees, 64 per cent think those in that industry should lose their job if they don’t have their shot.

But that drops to about half of Canadians when asked about firing small businesses workers and people in the construction industry.

In Ontario, 71 per cent think medical professionals unwilling to get the jab should be dismissed from their jobs, while 65 per cent feel that way in Quebec — despite both provinces decision to backtrack on mandatory vaccinations for hospital workers earlier this month.

According to University of Toronto bioethicist, Dr. Kerry Bowman, firing someone over a vaccine mandate is an extreme approach.

“I think anyone in healthcare should, without question, be vaccinated. But firing is an extreme thing and I worry they’re being overly harsh,” Bowman tells CityNews.

“In some cases I don’t think we really understand why healthcare workers are not being vaccinated and I worry we’re setting a very difficult precedent with this.”

Bowman suggests there should be an exploration as to why a worker would choose to remain unvaccinated.

He’s also concerned about those in leadership roles who take a rigid position to the vaccine mandate, dividing the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

“I worry that the tone of it is one of intolerance. I worry that with the vaccinated and unvaccinated, we’ve really turned it into an ‘us and them’ kind of a war.”

Meantime, questions continue about Canada’s prioritization for COVID-19 vaccines after Health Canada approved Pfizer booster shots for adults 18 years of age and older in early October. Two-in-five of those surveyed say the focus should be on boosters at home, while the same number would shift resources abroad to help low-income countries with vaccine shortages.

“We have completely neglected the global pandemic. The greatest threat to us all as Canadians is the virus coming at us from a global point of view,” Bowman says.

“There are places in the world that have almost no vaccine and I think focusing on boosters and the vaccination of children is not the right thing to do right now.”

In some other key findings of the poll, 52 per cent of Canadians are personally concerned about contracting the virus and 63 per cent remain concerned about loved ones contracting COVID-19.

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