Where there is risk there must always be choice.

I work with children and families. I work in mental health, day after day I fight to keep youth from taking their own lives. I go out of my way to help parents learn to connect with their child, teach them ways to help pull their child out of depression, begin eating again fighting their eating disorder, reintegrate into society when their anxiety is so crippling they cant attend school. Sometimes I wake up at night worrying about a child or family, sometimes I work outside what is expected of me if it will mean the difference in helping children over come their mental health challenges. There are times when I don’t understand where a client is coming from and I have to dig deep to show them genuine compassion because that is what they need. My job requires A LOT of mental and emotional strength and energy. I love my job, I love empowering children, youth, and families to take control of their mental health for a brighter future.

When the vaccine mandate was released, I felt like I was hit by a bus! How can my employer completely and utterly send me the indirect message that I am disposable, worthless, and not a valuable asset to the people I serve as a public servant. How can the government tell me I am an essential service throughout the whole pandemic, deeming me too important to not work and provide mental health support to families. This same government who has recently been advertising the rise in mental health challenges among youth directly due to the pandemic, is now telling me that if I don’t inject my body with a so-called vaccine, that I will lose my job! How can my employer demand that I continue to give to the public my everything when my cup, which is feeling drained at this point (due to supporting mental health through 2 years of crisis) has now had a hole punched right through it? How do I continue to give and give when I am treated like a disposable, worthless piece of trash? This vaccine mandate has impacted my trust in my employer; in their actual ability to serve the public fairly (which they claim is non-discriminatory). I have sleepless nights, fears of financial ruin, and I am deathly afraid of vaccine injury or death. I also have an anger I’ve never had about the coercion and illegal policies and violations of my human rights.

– Public Servant feeling like Public Trash

I have been a loyal and hard-working BC Public Service employee, and have built up my career with the BCPS for over 15 years. In my current position, I work 110% every day to ensure my clients are supported with the work I do.  Even though my job is stressful with a high level of workload, I enjoy what I do and the clients I support. I have consistently performed the duties of my job (and then some…) to the best of my ability, honestly, loyally and with integrity; as well as supporting my fellow co-workers when they needed support.

I have had excellent job performance evaluations throughout my career in the BCPS, and very happy clients who receive my support, yet this doesn’t seem to matter to my employer. Regardless of how hard I work, how honest I am, how loyal I have been, and how much integrity I have, my employer feels that they have the right to take my job away, for nothing I have done wrong. They feel they have the right to take away the ability to feed and shelter myself and my rescue animals – all in the name of supposed “safety” – which has not been proven to be true…

I have been working full-time since I was 15 years old and am not afraid of hard work to support myself; I have always done so – sometimes working two jobs – to ensure I could support myself, and I’m now facing discrimination and outright disrespect by way of employer coercion to try to force me to take a drug that has been proven to have serious adverse health affects, including death, just to keep my job.

I have lost friendships due to the choice to keep my personal medical information private; and have been disrespected, yelled at, sworn at, and other outright mean behaviour from the people who live in the same building as I do, because I refuse to wear a mask (which is proven to be not effective). The stress of having to deal with the unkind behaviour and disrespectful people at home and from my employer has taken its toll on my physical and mental health. Once again, I have done nothing wrong…

Regardless of how badly I’ve been treated, personally and professionally, I WILL stay strong in my beliefs and fighting for what is right, as I know there are other like-minded people who I can align with, who are brave, positive, and have the most integrity I’ve ever seen. I would like other people who judge those of us fighting for rights, to think about how unethical, unlawful, and dishonest the BCPS (and other forms of government) have been toward all of us. Do I deserve to lose the job I have worked so hard for, and have my rights to EI taken away – because I want informed consent and medical privacy rights? Is this the type of behaviour you want to support??

– Anonymous Ministry of Environment and Climate Change employee

I have been a hardworking employee with my ministry for 15 years. I have only taken time off when ‘I really needed it’. I have always been overworked and under resourced in my sector. I have been harassed and bullied many times when asking for basic necessities to be able to do my job efficiently. I have poured my heart and soul into building healthy relationships and supporting the families I work for. 

The families I work with will be the ones most impacted as I know it will be another 6 months for my replacement, if they are lucky. I have witnessed many losses of resources in my sector every year. Yet, the job demands and the job load has only become heavier and complex. We barely have the tools and $$ required and when we ask we are told things like “maybe this isn’t the right job for you”. 

My caseload has always been unmanageable and high, so I usually put in more hours then I should. I try not to, but it’s hard when you know if you don’t, someone else will be at a loss. I have stayed so long because of the relationships I have made with the families and the community. I see fear and helplessness in my coworkers eyes because I know they want to step out of line, but they are afraid, so they won’t. 

These policies and our union not standing up for our basic rights as good standing employees is wrong on so many levels. It’s unjustified and it’s criminal. What they are attempting to do to us has been traumatizing, at least it has been for me. I hope we can stand strong together, whatever our differences are and however this looks for each of us individually. Many of us know something is wrong with this ‘whole’ picture and the sooner we can put our differences aside and start working together the better. 

– Anonymous Ministry of Children and Family Development employee

I have been a public servant for 23 years. I am proud to be a public servant. My friends in private sector would always question why I would work for less money and more grief. I would always tell them that it isn’t about money, it is about making the world a better place. I would ask them if they enjoyed being able to drink the tap water and not worry about poisoning their kids. Or swimming in the lakes without worrying about getting sick. Or breathing the air without the risk of developing cancer. That is why I do it! That is why most of the civil servants do it.

I want to believe that Lori Wannamaker is a decent human being and that she truly believes that she is protecting her employees and the public. I sincerely do not want to believe that she has an agenda or is being paid-off or even blackmailed to push the vaccine. I want to believe the world isn’t that corrupt and evil.

If I take a step back, I understand why Lori imposed the vaccine mandate. Assuming she is a good person, she is just trying to protect her staff. That’s her job as a public servant and as the head of the public service. I also believe know that most of the staff, my colleagues and friends, are onboard and agree with the vaccine mandate. 

Lori, and most of the world, will argue that the mandates are based on science and that science says that i) the vaccine is safe and ii) the vaccine is effective. I am no expert, but I don’t think that any of those claims can be made with any certainty until all the facts are in – that is how science works. It is like we are writing our results and conclusion section of the lab report while we are halfway through the experiment.

Because the science is still not proven, I feel that making people choose between their jobs and rolling the dice with their health is disgusting. No one has the right to do that and the laws actually state this. 

I don’t think that mandating a vaccine or any medical treatment is fair or even humane. There are legitimate reasons why some people can’t get the vaccine, and there are people that do not want the vaccine for religious reasons or just because they don’t believe the vaccine is safe. That is their choice. I know the common sentiment from my colleagues is that those people don’t deserve to have a job. I am devastated at how cold and cruel good people can be.

I feel so heartbroken that the mandate is so ruthless and calculated to force people to get the vaccine or lose their jobs with no room for compassion. This isn’t the public service I grew my career with. 

It is not an easy decision but I am forced to walk away from my career. I have a young child and I can’t risk a vaccine injury.  I have had several friends get very sick and even die from the vaccine and I am never taking that risk. I need to be around to raise my child. I want to be able to look them in the eye and honestly say I am doing it to make the world a better place. I am doing this because the next step will be to force the vaccine into little kids’ arms. I am worried that after that it will be something else and it will never end. It is all well and good with my colleagues, and the vast majority of people, when it is something they agree with but wait until it is forcing something they don’t agree with.   

I am grateful for the experience and friendships that I have gained in the public service along the way. I am proud of my accomplishments as a public servant. I am very sad that I will never have a retirement party and leave my career with dignity. The part that hurts the most is that I was a good employee – a loyal employee. 

There is no doubt that I will have financial hardships and there is a very distinct possibility that I will never work in this field again. I know that being a certain age and very specialized in government work, I am not very employable. I am also concerned that my retirement age will be pushed out to 65 from 60. I will take my health and freedom over financial security.

I hope this letter finds you well. I don’t wish any ill will on anyone. I just want some dignity and my freedom of choice – I want that for everyone so don’t dismiss me as an anti-vaxxer. I am pro freedom and choice and I truly hope you don’t have to face a similar dilemma when a mandate crosses your line in the sand.

– Anonymous, Loyal Employee, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change
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