On behalf of Scouts Canada and Voyageur Council Council, we would like to inform you that Scouts Canada has announced a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy that will apply to all eligible youth, adult members, participants, and staff effective November 1, 2021. Today, September 15, the new policy and an FAQ were posted on the News Section of Scouts.ca.
Throughout the pandemic, Scouts Canada has taken a principled approach to ensuring that Scouting can continue to provide youth the opportunities to discover and grow. Over the course of the last 18-months, our actions have been guided by several key principles: the safety and well-being of our members is our top priority; we will not be first-movers but rather prudent, fast-followers; and we have committed to playing a meaningful role as a civic leader, supporting government and public health officials’ direction and goals in combatting the pandemic. We now have the opportunity to take a leadership stance that reinforces that commitment to our communities and our members.
The evolving pandemic, the significant up-take of vaccinations across the country, and signs of an emerging fourth-wave among unvaccinated individuals has prompted Scouts Canada to introduce a vaccine mandate for all eligible youth, adult members, participants and staff. Public health officials continue to advocate strongly for vaccination as the most critical step to bringing the pandemic to an end; Scouts Canada supports this position. Youth need Scouting more than ever to get back to doing kid things. As Scouts Canada members, we play an essential role in our communities and helping them thrive.
Key dates for the new policy are as follows:
- September 15: FAQ and mandatory vaccine policy published on Scouts.ca
- Early October: MyScouts.ca will be updated to include vaccine mandate/requirement. All youth, volunteers, and staff will be able to update their vaccine status on MyScouts before engaging in in-person activities.
- November 1: All members including youth (who meet vaccination eligibility requirements), Scouters, parents, staff and helpers who intend to participate in-person at Scouting activities must be fully vaccinated. MyScouts.ca must be updated to reflect this requirement.
Any individual who cannot be vaccinated based on medical or religious reasons will be able to request an exemption and will be accommodated (more information to follow on this process). Those who remain unvaccinated will be able to participate in virtual activities.
Additionally, in provinces or areas in which governments stipulate a specific procedure or passport use, Scouts Canada would require those procedures to be adopted (e.g. vaccine passport/QR code in Quebec). In provinces or school districts that have a requirement for in-person building access or after-hours school use, it is expected that a procedure and associated document will be required. In all cases, it is expected that any Scouts Canada activity will always follow federal and provincial legislation if required in addition to Scouts Canada rules.
After you have reviewed the policy and FAQ, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Group Commissioner with any questions. As noted in the FAQ, some specific details and clarifications will be provided in the coming weeks.
Thank you for all you’ve done throughout the pandemic, and we hope that you’re looking forward to the many safe activities, meetings, and adventures that the next Scouting year will offer.