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Mandatory vaccination policy rescinded for B.C. public servants

Employees at health care sites will still need to be vaccinated against COVID-19
A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna in 2021. (Photo credit: Phil MacLachlan/Black Press)

As of April 3, B.C.’s public service employees will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

However, employees who work in health care facilities across the province will continue to need to be vaccinated due to ongoing provincial health officer orders.

In a press release on March 10, the Ministry of Finance said the decision to rescind the mandatory vaccination policy for B.C.’s public servants — of whom there are approximately 35,000 throughout the province — was made based on the high level of vaccination among the employees and the current state of the pandemic.

The ministry said that more than 98 per cent of its public service employees met the vaccination requirement.

“Rescinding the vaccination policy means a small number of employees on administrative leave due to non-compliance will be provided the opportunity to return to the workplace,” the ministry said.

The decision also means that contractors and other non-employees do not need to be vaccinated to enter BC Public Service workplaces.

While the public service is removing its policy, people are still required to be vaccinated if they work in settings with provincial health officer orders or other vaccination requirements in place, including hospitals and care homes.

Across Interior Health, 895 health care workers lost their jobs due to the vaccine mandate, 66 of whom worked at Royal Inland Hospital. The breakdown at RIH is 28 nursing staff (including RNs, LPNs, student nurses, and care aides); 17 people in support services; nine clerical workers; six technologists/technicians; and six in allied health. Interior Health has also said that 10 physicians across the health region were impacted by the vaccine mandate, with an “extremely low” number of doctors affected at Royal Inland Hospital.

The vaccination requirement for public service employees was implemented in November 2021, and was always intended as a temporary measure, the ministry noted in its release.

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