Memo: CFLPA reserves right to grieve lawfulness of league mandated COVID-19 policy and its application

Photo courtesy: CFLPA

The CFL Players’ Association has responded to the league mandated policy encouraging the COVID-19 vaccine by tying losses and lost pay to low vaccination rates.

CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay sent the union’s response to the league to the membership on Thursday.

You may have seen the CFL’s recent memo regarding potential game cancelations. Through our counsel, we have responded to the league with the note shown here:

The CFLPA has reviewed the League’s August 1 policy regarding game cancellations due to Covid issues. The CFLPA is startled by, and disapproving of its contents. The Union believes the CFL’s policy is unreasonable and will not stand the scrutiny of an arbitration board.

Like the CFL, the CFLPA is hopeful that games may be rescheduled, but not cancelled this season. However, should that arise, the CFL is on notice that the CFLPA reserves the right to grieve the lawfulness of the policy and its application.

Our goal this year, as it as been for the past 20 months is to have a safe and healthy season under our present circumstances. We will not waiver from that focus, while at the same time protecting our membership’s rights.

Good luck to all CFLPA members as you take the field for the start of this exciting season.

Be assured we’ve got your back.

According to the policy, if a game cannot be played as scheduled because of COVID-19 issues, and it cannot be rescheduled:

  • And one club is suffering from the COVID-19 issues, that club will forfeit the game and be assigned a loss while its’ opponent will be credited with a win by a score of 1-0.
  • And both clubs are suffering from the COVID-19 issues, then both clubs will forfeit the game and be assigned a loss.

In both of these circumstances, if a team can prove that 85 per cent of its’ players under contract have been vaccinated, at least once and preferably fully, its players will receive their salary for the cancelled game. If the team falls below that 85 per cent threshold, the entire team will not receive its salary.

As of last Friday’s league-wide roster cutdown, 79 per cent of CFL players are fully or partially vaccinated. Three CFL teams have more than 85 per cent of their players vaccinated. The other six teams have vaccination rates ranging from 67 per cent to 81 per cent.

The league’s cancellation policy further states a game will be cancelled if any of the following conditions are met:

  • Its’ playing is precluded by a decision by a government health authority.
  • A team does not have 36 players to dress for the game;
  • A team does not have an individual available to coach the offence and another individual to coach the defence;
  • A team does not have a certified athletic therapist and sports medicine physician available for the game.

In addition, the commissioner can cancel a game at his discretion following consultation with the CFL’s chief medical officers and the CFLPA.