TORONTO -- Around half of surveyed Canadians say they support employers mandating COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for their employees, a new poll finds, with Canadians 55 and older being the most in favour.

The Harris Poll, commissioned by Express Employment Professionals, asked respondents: “Should employers require their employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot?”

About a third (34 per cent) of respondents said “no” to that same question, but did want employers to recommend that workers get a booster shot.

Only 18 per cent of Canadians polled said employers should neither ask for workers to get the COVID-19 booster shot nor take a stand on whether employees receive it.

The poll offers some early insight into what is expected to be another contentious issue on the horizon for Canadian businesses, many of which are looking to have more workers in the office again as vaccination rates continue to rise. Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization is currently weighing the benefits of booster shots, but some provincial governments are already rolling out booster shots for seniors and other high-risk groups, such as immunocompromised people.

“Although initial COVID-19 vaccines are currently required by some employers, and mask mandates, social distancing and hand sanitizing are commonplace, worsening labour shortages are causing many employers to be wary of adding more requirements on current employees and potential job recruits,” the pollsters said in a press release.

Overall, the people who were most likely to be supportive of employers mandating booster shots were:

  • Males (53 per cent),
  • Canadians aged 55 and older (60 per cent),
  • unemployed Canadians (55 per cent),
  • and those who have an income of $75,000 or more (53 per cent).

Residents of Quebec (54 per cent) were the most supportive of COVID-19 booster shots, followed by Ontario and British Columbia (both 50 per cent).

The poll was conducted amongst 1,012 Canadian adults 18 years old and older, between Sept. 2 and Sept. 6, 2021. The pollsters said the data was “weighted where necessary bring it into line with actual proportions in the population.”