The Great Attrition, Great Reset, or Great Division?

With a record number of employees quitting or thinking about doing so and the upcoming unvaccinated terminations/layoffs/suspensions as companies and government organizations across Canada enforce vaccinate mandates, what will the overall damage be to the Canadian business ecosystem with the potential of thousands becoming jobless going into 2022? What are the potential supply chain impacts? How much will municipal/provincial/federal services be delayed? How many more businesses will close?

For now, as you think through some of the answers to these questions for your business, you begin to understand that our interlinked business ecosystem may suffer a significant impact.

We certainly don’t have all the answers. However, we can offer some strategies and tactics you can use to support your business that we have deployed.

  • Support employees during attrition. How you manage careers, succession planning, skills, knowledge, corporate culture, and the safety of your people in day-to-day operations will be critical. The “Great Attrition” refers to employees being burned out and thinking about leaving work in less than 6 months (A survey in the US identified that up to 40% of the US workforce wants to leave their current place of employment).

  • Accommodate if possible. If you can accommodate staff working from home, provide transitional skills training for unvaccinated staff to enable them to work from home. Ensure vaccinated staff still have the option to work from home and continue to treat them fairly and equitably. For businesses that depend on staff being on-site, it’s important to assess what functions could be streamlined or digitized. An example would be an off-site supervisor who manages administrative functions, communications, and remote cameras to observe workers at-home.

  • Understand your impacts. Assess the number of staff that will no longer be able to conduct a specific process and identify ways to cross-train other individuals. Remember to document knowledge for training/procedural purposes. Also begin aggressive hiring.

  • Map out your supply chain. Whether you provide a service or a product, you have a supply chain to assess. Identify all the suppliers who support your products or services (upstream dependencies) and those to whom you supply your products or services (downstream dependencies). Mapping these dependencies will help you understand what inventory you might need to acquire and create lines of communication with your upstream/downstream dependencies to better understand their impacts.

  • Speak to your customers/clients/community. There will be delays in your service levels. Be transparent and advise your customers in advance about this. Highlight new engagement processes you are using, share with customers what to expect with a certain product or service, inform everyone what to expect if they are unvaccinated, and communicate all health-related processes on your website banners + social media.

Things are progressing with Canada’s recovery, but we still have a ways to go. While getting the vaccine shot is for all of us, we also need to respect the rights of Canadians, address stigma/bias that comes with being unvaccinated now, and in the future. Connect with us to get additional strategic or tactical support.


Further reading from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB): Governments are considering vaccine passports/credentials One strategy being discussed across the country is vaccine “passports,” or credentials.

  • Ontario implemented mandatory proof of vaccination at certain businesses on September 22. This includes indoor dining, nightclubs, sporting events, gyms, meeting spaces and casinos. See the full list of affected businesses. Visit our FAQ page to learn more.

  • Quebec has implemented a vaccination passport as of September 1. It is applied in bars, restaurants, and gyms, as well as in festivals and high activity indoor venues, but it is not required in retail stores.

  • Manitoba has already issued an immunization card which businesses are to use to allow fully vaccinated people to visit select indoor arts and recreation venues like concert halls and casinos, or participate in large outdoor events.

  • British Columbia will require proof of vaccination for certain indoor activities and businesses, including concerts, sporting events, dining, gyms, workshops, and weddings. Starting September 13, individuals must be vaccinated with at least one dose to access these events, services, and businesses. By October 24, individuals must be fully vaccinated with two doses.

  • Nova Scotia will require proof of vaccination, starting October 4, for those 12 and over who wish to participate in non-essential activities, such as going to restaurants, bars, concerts, and fitness facilities.

  • Newfoundland and Labrador announced on September 7 that a vaccination passport will be implemented in the coming few weeks based on the Quebec system. Further details are not yet available.

  • Alberta announced that from September 20 onwards, certain businesses and events must either implement the Restrictions Exemption Program - which requires proof of vaccination or a negative test result plus mandatory masking - to continue operation as usual, or comply with the latest public health restrictions.

  • Saskatchewan announced that proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test will be required to access some businesses, establishments, and event venues in the province as of October 1.

  • New Brunswick will implement a proof of vaccination program beginning September 22. Those 12 and over will be required to show proof of vaccination when accessing certain businesses, services, and events, such as indoor and outdoor dining, movie theatres, nightclubs, group exercise facilities, and more.

  • Prince Edward Island announced that the government hopes to implement a proof of vaccination program sometime in October. Further details are not yet available.

While some business owners may welcome the use of a vaccine credential with employees and/or customers as an alternative to lockdowns, CFIB has several significant concerns and wants you to understand the risks. There are serious privacy and human rights considerations involved, and a business could face an expensive legal process just as they are getting on their on their feet. We are also concerned about the ability of small businesses to effectively implement a process to check credentials. For example, asking a young retail clerk or restaurant host to ask about someone’s health records would put them in an incredibly delicate position.

Can a business require employees or customers to get vaccinated?

CFIB has worked with a law firm to create a vaccine policy template that can help business owners talk about vaccines with their employees. We do not recommend business owners impose a requirement that employees or its customers be vaccinated.

We are starting to see governments mandate vaccines for certain sectors. However, these announcements do not change the legal risks for small businesses, who should still tread carefully if considering requiring staff or customers to be vaccinated.

CFIB is on the board of the POST Promise (People Outside Safely Together), which urges businesses to take a pledge to do five things to protect employees and staff from COVID. We prefer voluntary actions like POST over mandatory approaches.



Author - Martin Gierczak, Founder, Genesis Resiliency.

Instagram: @martin.genesisr Twitter: @GierczakMartin