More information on the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) order that mandates all workers in hospital and community health-care settings be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 by Oct. 26 has been provided. On Oct. 14, the PHO confirmed that the same process that was extended to workers in long-term care and community workers will be applied to those in the hospital and community sector.
Employees hired prior to Oct. 26 who are not fully immunized (seven days post-dose two) may continue to work if they receive their first dose before Oct. 26. Employees will be subject to preventive measures including masking on every shift, until seven days after their second dose. Rapid testing is not part of the preventative measures under the PHO for hospital and community health care settings. The second dose of the vaccine must be received between 28 days and 35 days after the first dose.
Employees who have not received any vaccine prior to Oct. 26 will be placed on an unpaid leave and advised that they must provide proof they have received their first dose by Nov. 15. If they have not received the first dose by Nov. 15, they may be terminated. Employees may return to work, with preventative measures as noted above, seven days past their first dose. A second dose must be received 28-35 days after the first dose.
Members seeking an exemption for medical reasons must apply to the Provincial Health Officer for reconsideration of the order, as outlined in section 43 of the Public Health Act. The Ministry of Health has informed the union that there will not be any religious exemptions.
An exemption for medical reasons must include a signed and dated statement from a medical practitioner, based upon a current assessment, that the health of the individual would be seriously jeopardized if they were to comply with the order. In addition, a signed and dated copy of each portion of the person's health record relevant to this statement will need to be provided.
Requests for exemptions should be emailed to the Provincial Health Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Request for Reconsideration about Preventive Measures in Facilities". These requests should be initiated as soon as possible to allow for a timely review. If a fully completed request has been submitted by Oct. 26 (including all relevant medical information signed and dated) and you have not yet received a response, you will be allowed to continue to work with preventative measures until you receive a response to your exemption request.
If an exemption is granted, members should contact their employer through disability management, with the documentation, to request an accommodation. Your BCNU EDMP Representative or Steward may be able to assist.
If an exception is not granted, the employee will be considered unvaccinated, will not be permitted to work and will be placed on unpaid leave.
BCNU remains committed to supporting its members. Members who face discipline or other concern with their collective agreement rights should seek advice from a BCNU steward.
The union will continue to keep members informed of any new developments.
Provincial Health Officer Order for Hospital and Community Valid contraindications and deferrals to COVID-19 vaccination
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