After an Oct. 26 deadline imposed by B.C. public health officials requiring all workers in the health care system to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, more then 4,000 workers have been placed on unpaid leave for not complying according to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Lakes District News spoke to Ministry of Health Representative Scott McKenzie about the ramifications for those workers, and what the rules are in terms of employment insurance, as well as potentially being reinstated to work.
“Staff in residential care who did not have a first dose by Oct. 12 are prohibited from working. This is mirrored in the hospital and community order, with a deadline of Oct. 26,” said McKenzie. “Health care workers on unpaid leave, or those who resigned prior to the deadline, would be subject to employment insurance standards set by the Government of Canada. This has been communicated broadly to employees, unions, employers and to the public.”
Workers will also be allowed to return to work, provided they comply with the vaccine mandate.
“Staff under the hospital and community order who are unvaccinated and currently on unpaid leave but who receive a first dose after Oct. 26 may return to work after seven days with preventive measures, but must get the second dose within 28-35 days,” said McKenzie.
“Staff who receive their first dose after Nov. 14 are ineligible to work until seven days after becoming fully vaccinated. They must receive their first dose by Nov. 15 or may face employment consequences up to and including termination of employment,” McKenzie continued.
According to Dix, out of the 4,000 unvaccinated health workers across the province, 376 are in the Northern Health region.
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