Canadian Underwriter

Workplace Vaccination: A four-part series coming this week

February 19, 2021   by Adam Malik

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Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is a common talking point around the virtual water cooler these days. Many questions remain up in the air while the industry longs for something resembling normal social interaction.

Starting Tuesday, Canadian Underwriter‘s online coverage will strive to answer some questions you may have about vaccines and the P&C workplace.

Some P&C industry executives have told Canadian Underwriter recently that it’s too soon to start talking about how vaccinations will roll out in their offices, because the country is still in the very early stages of its vaccination program. A COVID-19 tracker established by Global News shows that only 1.38 million doses of the vaccine have been administered thus far in Canada, which is about 1.85% of the country’s total population.

But while vaccination is off to a slow start in Canada, millions of doses of the vaccine are expected to come by the end of next month, according to federal government officials. In fact, recent news headlines speak of a stepped-up vaccination timetable. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still maintains that all Canadians who want a vaccine will be able to get theirs by the end of September.

Canadian Underwriter recently canvassed industry professionals how they feel about working from home. Many in the industry like working from home, but they want to see their colleagues in the office again. For that to happen, though, they have to feel safe about returning to the workplace. One reader reported contracting COVID-19 in the office; consequently, they are now in no rush to return to the workplace environment.

Our survey results raised a host of questions. Will vaccinations make the workplace safe? How will they affect returning to the office environment? What if some people in the workplace don’t want the vaccination? Should it be mandated? What messaging is needed? What role to company leaders play in a vaccination program?

These questions and more will be examined in a four-part series starting Tuesday as part of Canadian Underwriter’s online news coverage. turan

As vaccines roll out, brokers, carriers, claims specialists, and other P&C industry professionals will all be preparing how to welcome their employees back into the workplace safely.

As part of that process, employers will need to consider whether a vaccine is mandatory in order to return or if they will take the approach of encouraging staff to do so. There’s also a third option: Stay neutral and provide information to staff to make their own decisions.

Your organization’s approach to vaccinations will determine how you convey important information to your peers, colleagues, and staff. “It’s not going to be easy,” warned Meagan Tyson, senior vice president and national director of employee communication and design at Hub International.

The series will look at how leaders will need to step out of the shadows and be front-and-centre during the process. Leading by example will be critical, experts say.

There will also be an examination into workplace wellness as a whole. Consider, for example, how the P&C industry generally advises clients to invest in risk mitigation measures to reduce future loss. The same applies to health and wellness in the P&C workplace, experts say. Invest in prevention to circumvent future issues.

“You can clearly see right now the direct connection to the bottom line and how important it is to focus on prevention, not just trying to get everybody back to work when they go through an injury or illness,” said Mary-Lou MacDonald, national practice leader of health and performance at Hub International in Ottawa.

Here are the stories that will appear this week:

Tuesday: Picking the right message for your organization

Wednesday: The role of leaders in this initiative

Thursday: A gateway to overall workplace wellness

Friday: The challenges around forcing vaccination in the office


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