MPC president on companies' vaccine responsibilities

The association's president and CEO weighs in on the debate unravelling in the mortgage industry

MPC president on companies' vaccine responsibilities

As the debate over mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for mortgage professionals continues, Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC) president and CEO Paul Taylor (pictured) has said companies have a responsibility to ensure that their staff are vaccinated if working in close proximity with clients or from an office.

Taylor, who was expressing a personal view rather than that of his association, told Canadian Mortgage Professional that the question could develop into a liability issue in the future if unvaccinated members of the mortgage industry meet in person with clients.

“I think if you’re an agent or broker and you’re taking client visits, you probably would want to know the vaccination status of the client,” he said.

 “Similarly, I think it’s incumbent upon you to disclose your vaccination status to anybody you’re taking a meeting with, so that they also understand the potential risk of interaction with you.

“You almost would want some sort of disclaimer or a sign-off if you were not vaccinated, to ensure that somebody that took a meeting with you is acknowledging that they were fully aware of that fact before they took that meeting.”

Taylor said the science was “pretty clear” that COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective in protecting against the virus, and that those who have not been vaccinated are at far greater risk of catching and passing it on than others.

Read more: “Over my dead body”: president and CEO speaks out against COVID vaccine

“You can’t really argue with the science of the thing,” he said. “The vaccines are very, very effective at preventing the worst of the disease symptoms.”

The Government of Canada has said that by two weeks after receiving the second dose of the vaccine an individual’s risk of serious illness will be much lower, the risk of other people catching the virus from that individual is “likely very low”, and that “very good protection against infection, including against most current variants of concern” is likely.

Canada’s five largest banks – Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) recently announced the introduction of a mandate requiring employees returning to work at company premises to be fully vaccinated by the fall.

Taylor said the decision was a wise move by the banks in question – and that it was a policy that further companies were likely to adopt in the near future.

“It makes perfect sense to me that if I was a bank and had that many thousands of employees who all had children at home, I would want to do my best to protect them from any likelihood of infection within my workspace,” he said.

“I think it’s pretty prudent for them to implement that. It’s not even that contentious when you consider an awful lot of governments have actually started to mandate this for their employees as well. I think it’s going to become pretty much the norm.”

While Taylor said he understood that some are legitimately unable to receive the vaccine for medical reasons, he noted that the government was unlikely to indefinitely appease those individuals who were eligible for vaccination but opted out.

Read more: Should brokers face mandatory vaccinations?

“I don’t think governments are going to have much of an option over time but to concede that for the 80% of the population that have had the vaccine now, it makes far more sense to permit vaccinated folks to continue in the economy, rather than closing everything down for the minority that are not,” he said.

“If you just don’t want to get vaccinated, I think there’s a contingent of the population that are going to feel that they’re being held to ransom by the holdouts of the vaccine – and I don’t know if, politically, those folks are going to win in the end.”

The question of vaccine mandates for industry events and conferences is a thorny one. However, Taylor said that he believed it was too early to say whether it would present a conundrum in the near future, given continuing restrictions on indoor events across most Canadian provinces and the likelihood that MPC would conduct its events virtually for the foreseeable future.

“We’ll continue to follow any public health protocols for any in-person gatherings we have scheduled,” he said.

“We probably anticipate that we’ll begin our symposium tour again in the spring of next year – but we’ll continue to manage things virtually in the short run.”