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Creed / Religious Exemptions

Ref. No. Executive sponsor Policy steward Approval authority First approved Last reviewed Effective date Next review
73.06B              
  1. Purpose
    1. NSCC has an obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to ensure a safe and healthy learning and work environment. NSCC is also committed to equity and human rights and makes good faith efforts to reconcile potential conflicts between an individual’s creed or religion and their work or academic requirements.
    2. The purpose of this procedure is to provide direction on COVID-19 testing exemptions due to creed or religious beliefs.
  1. Scope
    1. This procedure applies to all NSCC students, employees, contractors, tenants, vendors (and their employees) and visitors at NSCC campuses, affiliated locations and student residences.
  1. Definitions
Term Definition
Accommodation The adjustment of a rule, practice, condition or requirement that considers the specific needs of an individual or group with one or more of the protected characteristics (as defined by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act).
Creed A set of principles (spiritual or other) or a philosophy of life
(usually spiritually-based). A professed system and confession of faith, including beliefs, observances and worship. A belief in a god or gods or a single supreme being is not a requisite. Creed is a protected characteristic in the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.
Creed / Religion Exemption Grounds to be exempted from testing protocol, or any other related protocol based upon established, sincerely held beliefs associated with creed or religion.
Discrimination Adverse differential treatment of a person or group of persons based on one or more of the protected characteristics in the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. It may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that appear neutral, but have the effect of disadvantaging certain groups of people based on the protected characteristics. However, discrimination does not include adverse or differential treatment that cannot be accommodated without undue hardship.
Employee Any person who is employed by NSCC or provides services to NSCC under an employment contract.
Fully Vaccinated Anyone who is ‘approved’ by NSCC as fully vaccinated according to the “Vaccination Requirements Procedure”.
Religion A system of belief regarding the meaning of life, and the expression of this religious faith in worship; a belief in a superhuman controlling power (especially in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship) Religion is a protected characteristic in the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act.
Student Anyone who is registered or enrolled in a course or program at the College.
Undue Hardship Exists when providing an accommodation would place an undue burden on the College, taking into account several factors, including the following:
a. a significant alteration of the fundamental nature of the program or service;
b. financial costs;
c. organizational convenience which has a substantial effect on the College due to disruption of operations;
d. significant adverse impact on the working or learning environment for others;
e. risks of safety or health hazards to other persons or property.
Visitor Anyone coming to campus who does not fall under another category.
  1. Policy
    1. Creed or Religious Accommodation for Vaccination
      1. Individuals have the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of creed or religion.
      2. Not every belief, opinion, expression, practice or matter of conscience is a creed or religious belief or protected under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. Exemptions are not provided for philosophical beliefs or personal preference.
      3. Individuals who cannot or choose not to provide proof of full vaccination (for any reason) must follow a testing protocol. 
    2. Creed or Religious Accommodation for Testing
      1. Unvaccinated individuals may request an exemption from NSCC’s testing requirements due to creed or religious beliefs.
      2. An Accommodated exemption from the testing requirements will be considered if the individual:
        1. Holds a sincere belief, based on their creed or religion, that they are not permitted to comply with the testing requirements of Covid 19 vaccine procedures.
        2. Is able to provide satisfactory information to properly consider the request for accommodation, if needed.
        3. Completes a written request for accommodation on creed or religious grounds.Creed and religious accommodation from testing are not guaranteed; a reasonable accommodation may be provided if it does not represent undue hardship for the College.
      3. Creed and religious accommodation from testing are not guaranteed; a reasonable accommodation may be provided if it does not represent undue hardship for the College. 
    3. Creed or Religious Accommodated Exemption Process
      1. Students and Employees
        Student Employee
        Submission Submit a written request to the Manager, Student Services on your campus. Submit a written request to your manager.
        Requests must: Describe the religion or belief system that prohibits the individual from complying with the testing requirements of the Vaccination Requirements Procedure.

        Describe the individual’s particular belief(s) that would be violated by complying with the testing requirements of the Vaccination Requirements Procedure.
        Requests that meet the criteria will be considered by: Academic Chair
        Campus Principal;
        Occupational Health & Safety;
        Student Affairs; and,
        Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion Department.
        Manager and/or SLF lead;
        Occupational Health & Safety;
        Human Resources; and,
        The Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion Department.
        If granted: You will receive a written response with direction regarding your exemption and accommodated procedure as soon as reasonably possible.

        The exemption will remain in effect for the duration of the academic year, until August 31, 2022, whereupon it will be reviewed.
        If denied: NSCC will communicate the reasons why the request has been denied and document any available alternative accommodations.
      2. If the Manager of Student Services or employee’s manager receiving a creed/religion exemption request has questions or concerns about a request, they should consult with Student Affairs, Human Resources or Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion department.
      3. Following this consultation, further information may be sought from the student or employee making the request.
      4. The exemption process can be reviewed and adjusted if new information is available, the student or employee’s circumstances change, or the academic or operational requirements change.
      5. In the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 or other increased risks, additional limitations may be invoked in accordance with public health guidance in order to protect the health of the College Community.
      6. We will work with contractors, vendors and tenants to implement consistent practices.
      7. Visitors will work with their primary college contact to explore options for accommodation.
    4. Privacy
      1. All personal information provided, including information regarding creed or religious status, will be handled in compliance with appropriate NSCC policy and relevant privacy legislation;
      2. An individual’s private information will not be disclosed alongside any identifying data. Aggregate data may be used for tracking and reporting purposes.
    5. Retaliation and Offensive Behaviour
      1. The College will endeavour at all times to provide an environment that is supportive of learning and working and of the equitable treatment of all members of its community. Retaliation or Offensive Behaviour (bullying, harassment or discrimination) of any kind against an individual requesting accommodation or in relation to vaccine status or irrational fear of contracting an illness or disease, is a serious violation of the Respectful Community Policy and Procedures. The College may take action, including disciplinary measures, should this occur.
  1. Policy Supports
73.02 Covid 19 Vaccination Requirements Procedure
33.01 Student Code of Conduct
42.01 Employee Code of Conduct
45.13 Employee Workplace Accommodations (employees)
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