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WATCH: Former employment agency manager highlights uneven enforcement of COVID-19 mandates

Throughout the pandemic, many immigrants travelled to Canada from countries without vaccine programs and sought employment through a temporary staffing agency while Canadians were banned from travel and lost their jobs over vaccine mandates.

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The anonymous guest in this interview is a former temporary employment agency manager from Calgary, Alberta.

In voicing concerns over what she coins as a “3-tiered citizenry,” the former manager points out that “we have our naturalized Canadians who are vaccinated, naturalized Canadians who are not vaccinated, and then we have an immigrant population, and there seems to be different rules for each of those groups with different restrictions for each of those groups. That inequality based on medical status, or country of origin, or time in the country, needs to be addressed.”

We discuss the fact that the staffing agency is not allowed to ask for private or confidential medical records of those seeking employment services. “We’re very limited in what we can ask for: work history and payroll information, but we are not allowed to ask anything that would fall under a discriminatory category. [That includes] race, gender, sexual identity, medical questions, any physical or mental disability. We cannot ask any of those [things] because it's considered to be a human rights violation.”

The former manager continued, “it would be considered a human rights violation to ask anything about medical capacity or medical status.”

In discussing how the government could alter its response to be more balanced, she reinforced that “a lot of the medical mandates that were put in place by provincial and federal governments were misaligned with the human rights legislation that is in effect in Canada…. Any of our federal employees who lost their job based on not being vaccinated or not disclosing, I feel that they have a court case.”

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