No longer will unvaccinated employees or physicians face discipline for failing to wear masks at all times in patient care areas.
New Westminster (9 Dec. 2019) ― After years of controversy surrounding British Columbia’s vaccinate or mask policy for health care workers during the flu season, the provincial policy has been amended to remove the disciplinary portion of the policy, where health care workers were at risk of being fired if they did not get a flu shot.
New policy in effect immediately
The Provincial Health Officer, Bonnie Henry, said the new policy will be in place effective as of Wednesday, December 4.
Under the new policy, “…health care staff and physicians will still be expected to either be immunized against influenza or wear a mask as appropriate in patient care areas. However, no longer will unvaccinated employees or physicians face discipline for failing to wear masks at all times in patient care areas. Reporting of immunization status remains mandatory.”
Change a win for health care workers
Health Sciences Association of British Columbia (HSABC/NUPGE) President Val Avery welcomed the change in the policy.
“HSABC/NUPGE’s position has long been that education and awareness about the benefits of immunization for health care workers, and access to worksite immunization clinics is a far better approach than the heavy-handed punitive policy in place since 2012,” Avery said.
Under the revised policy, it is still mandatory for employees to either provide their employer with proof that they have had the annual flu shot, or wear a mask when in patient care areas for the duration of the flu season.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE