The Provincial Health Officer (PHO) order that mandated all employees in long-term care and assisted living facilities be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 by Oct. 12, 2021 has been revised. While mandatory vaccination is still required under the PHO, the timeline has been marginally extended.
Under the revised implementation of the order, employees hired prior to Oct. 12 who are not fully immunized (seven days post second dose) may continue to work if they receive their first dose before Oct. 12. Employees will be subject to preventive measures including masking and rapid testing on every shift, until seven days after their second dose. 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. 12 will be placed on an unpaid leave for two weeks and advised that they must provide proof they have received their first dose by Oct. 25. If they have not received the first dose by Oct. 25, 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. 12 (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.
Members who face discipline or other concern with their collective agreement rights should seek advice from a BCNU steward. BCNU is committed to supporting its members.
The union will keep members informed of any new developments and expects there will be an interim period of uncertainty. Details on the Oct. 26 vaccination requirement deadline for all employees at health-care facilities will be shared as they become available.
Provincial Health Officer Preventive Measures OrderValid contraindications and deferrals to COVID-19 vaccination
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