COVID-19 Vaccination Grievance Update

May 23, 2024
Consent award and process agreement reached for members impacted by vaccination orders

After aggressive case management between BCNU and HEABC in March, arbitrator Jacquie de Aguayo has ruled that members who were terminated or placed on unpaid leave for not being vaccinated will be given the right to be re-hired, should the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) order be amended or rescinded by January 31, 2025.

The consent award comes after BCNU submitted hundreds of grievances on behalf of members and provides a baseline remedy for all terminated members while also providing BCNU the ability to seek additional damages for issues related to human rights and charter violations raised by members.

Members who return to work will have their seniority and service reinstated and all banks, including sick leave credits, overtime, and special leave entitlements that were not paid out at the time of termination, restored.

If the PHO order is not amended or rescinded by January 31, 2025, but instead amended or rescinded by March 31, 2025, terminated members can be hired back at the employer’s discretion and will be entitled to the same terms involving service, banks, and seniority.

The union’s industry-wide application dispute (IWAD) on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies argued that the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC) and its member employers refused to allow nurses who had failed to comply with the policies the ability to exercise various rights under the Nurses’ Bargaining Association provincial collective agreement. BCNU and HEABC have agreed to follow a process order for adjudicating outstanding grievance claims, including those related to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, accommodation claims, and remote work.

BCNU will continue to represent members through the established grievance process and asks that health employers use a case-by-case approach to accommodate the nurses who aren’t vaccinated, and consider options in the form of redeployment, leaves of absence, education, and the use of personal protective equipment.

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