OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s House of Commons will require all lawmakers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when they return to work next month, potentially locking out some members of parliament from the official opposition Conservatives.
Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau narrowly won re-election last month, saying he would insist on vaccine mandates for federal workers, people traveling domestically, and his own candidates.
Three of the four opposition parties represented in the House of Commons also support vaccination requirements for lawmakers, but the Conservatives led by Erin O’Toole oppose mandates and did not require their candidates to be inoculated. The party has so far declined to say how many of its lawmakers have not been vaccinated.
“Individuals must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be allowed within the House of Commons,” House Speaker Anthony Rota, a Liberal, said in a statement late on Tuesday.
The vaccination requirement will apply to everyone who enters a House of Commons space, whether a lawmaker, an aide, an administrator or a journalist, the statement said.
Spokespeople in O’Toole’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Trudeau is due to speak to O’Toole on Wednesday, according to the prime minister’s office. Trudeau will announce his new Cabinet next week and lawmakers are due back on Nov. 22.
The government’s leader in the House of Commons, Pablo Rodriguez, said a hybrid meeting model used during the pandemic could be left in place to allow lawmakers to attend virtually, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
“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,” Rodriguez’s spokesperson, Simon Ross, told the CBC.
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