As you are likely aware from the communication earlier today from the head of the Public Service, beginning April 3 vaccinations against COVID-19 will no longer be a requirement to work in the BC Public Service.
The employer has also told us that they will be amending HR Policy 4, the Occupational Health and Safety policy, to remove the related requirements for contractors and other non-employees to be vaccinated to enter BC Public Service workplaces.
The employer has provided this FAQ on the policy change, including details on how Provincial Health Officer orders requiring vaccination are still in effect at a number of worksites. We encourage everyone to review the FAQ.
As is required by our collective agreement, the employer provided our union with advance notice of this change. While we appreciate the notice, we were not consulted or involved in the change in policy.
We know that you will have many questions regarding the impact of their decision, not just with regard to members who have been terminated, placed on unpaid leave, or granted accommodations pursuant to the regulation and the policy, but also to the thousands of members who followed instruction and remained working.
Our primary concern is ensuring that all members have received equitable treatment under the regulation and policy. To address our concerns – and to ask some of the many questions we know you have – we have requested a meeting with the PSA to review how BCGEU members, including those who have been terminated, will be treated following the repeal of the regulation, and changes in the policy.
We know that from the beginning of the pandemic, you have demanded clarity on how the employer's decisions affect us and our working lives. These decisions are strictly in the purview of the employer, and we know that they impact all of us in the public service.
Please be assured that our union will address the many issues which may be raised by this latest announcement. We will keep you updated you as events unfold.
We deeply appreciate all your efforts aimed at keeping your worksites safe.
Your BCGEU Public Service Bargaining Committee
Stephanie Smith, President and Committee Chair
Paul Finch, Treasurer
Judy Phipps, Executive Vice President
Dean Purdy, Vice President - Component 1
Kusam Doal, Vice President - Component 5
Judy Fox-McGuire, Vice President - Component 6
Kayla Woodruff, First Vice President - Component 6
Maria Middlemiss, Vice President - Component 12
DJ Pohl, First Vice President, Component 12
Robert Davis, Vice President - Component 20
Michael Eso, Secretary and Lead Negotiator
Lisa Lane, Support Staff
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BCGEU Headquarters is on the unceded and shared traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skxwú7mesh (Squamish) & Səlí̓ lwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.