LEAP, other CSA contracts come under COVID-19 vaccine requirements

COVID-19 epidemiology in Canada daily update for Nov. 4, 2021. Credit: Government of Canada.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is starting to implement a vaccine mandate in its contracts, in line with Government of Canada requirements.

As of Nov. 15, the CSA will join the rest of the government in implementing a vaccination policy for supplier personnel that need access to federal government workplaces. The policy asks that suppliers send a certification form soon to certify all personnel who need to access such workplaces will be fully vaccinated by that date.

“Contractors who do not submit the certification may be subject to further measures, up to and including termination,” the government-wide policy states. CSA referred all questions to Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), which provided a statement to SpaceQ. Initially the submission deadline was Oct. 29, according to federal documentation, but PSPC indicates the date is now Nov. 12.

Among the recent CSA contracts affected was this Lunar Exploration Acceleration Project (LEAP) tender that expired Sept. 14. LEAP is one of the main frameworks by which Canada is allowing companies the chance to bid for opportunities that could lean to future lunar missions in association with the Artemis program, led by NASA. (Canada’s larger lunar contributions in the coming years include a Canadarm3 robotic arm and a lunar microrover.)

“Future CSA solicitations and contracts will include the new clauses. For an in-process requirement such as LEAP, the solicitation would be amended to include the required clauses and certifications,” PSPC said in its statement to SpaceQ.

The supplier vaccination policy is part of a network of federal vaccine requirements, ranging from requirements for its own personnel, to stipulations for travellers on federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation. 

And the federal government is not alone in implementing vaccine restrictions, which are also present at the international, provincial and federal levels. That said, support for such vaccine mandates is not universal. For example, protestors gathered earlier this week near NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. in protest to planned U.S. federal vaccine mandates, according to reports; JPL says the mandate applies to its campus, which is a federally funded research and development centre managed by the California Institute of Technology.

Media reports in the United States and Canada have pointed out that among the general workplace population, however, that such protests tend to include just a tiny fraction of the greater group. Within Canada, PSPC expects suppliers will be ready to meet the deadline in time, they added, and noted that ” suppliers have been generally supportive of the certification process.” (Contractors can ask any questions at this e-mail, they added: [email protected]gsc.gc.ca.)

“We are asking contractors who currently have active contracts with the Government of Canada to identify contracts for which they need their personnel to access Government of Canada workplaces to perform the work,” PSPC stated, noting that they sent information about how to submit the certification form back on Oct. 21 – eight days before the initial listed deadline to send it back (although, as indicated earlier in this article, the deadline appears to be extended.)

PSPC said the government is working to protect the safety of Canadians and its own workplaces, given it is the country’s largest employer. For existing contracts, they added, suppliers that are unwilling to provide the certification form, or who are otherwise found to be non-compliance, will be subject to penalties up to and including contract termination.

“For new and active solicitations, completing and providing the COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Certification Form is a mandatory requirement of the bid. If the bidder is unwilling to provide the certification, then the bid will be found non-responsive,” PSPC added.

About Elizabeth Howell

Is SpaceQ's Associate Editor as well as a business and science reporter, researcher and consultant. She recently received her Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota and is communications Instructor instructor at Algonquin College.