BCPS Employees for Freedom

B.C. Public Servants Call for End to Vaccine Mandate

For Immediate Release
February 6, 2022

VICTORIA – B.C. public servants are calling for an end to the proof of COVID-19 vaccination mandate for provincial government workers.

BC Public Service Employees for Freedom, a group with more than 400 registered and verified members that advocates on behalf of employees who feel they have been coerced into taking the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their jobs, or who are facing termination for non-compliance, has written an open letter to the Province’s top bureaucrat, Lori Wanamaker, calling for an end to the vaccination mandate.

In October 2021, Wanamaker announced all B.C. public servants would be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination using the BC Vaccine Card by November 22, 2021, or face leave without pay and possible termination after three months. This new requirement was described by Wanamaker as “an important and necessary step to ensure our workplaces remain as safe as possible.” There are approximately 30,000 employees working in the BC Public Service.

“We were told this was about employee safety, and that vaccination was the safest, most effective measure to reduce transmission in our communities,” said the group’s spokesperson, on condition of anonymity. Group members are concerned about employer reprisals for speaking out against the mandate. “The problem is, the vaccines haven’t stopped infection or transmission, and most office-based BC public servants are still working from home online.”

The open letter, which can be found here, points to data from the BC Centre for Disease Control that show over the past month, nearly 80% of new COVID cases were among the vaccinated and more than two thirds of patients admitted to hospital and dying from COVID-19 in B.C. were vaccinated.

“If our vaccinated colleagues can work from home online, but we can’t and will be fired because we won’t disclose our personal, private medical information or take a vaccine that doesn’t stop COVID infection or transmission, how does that ensure workplace safety?”

The group is urging the Head of the BC Public Service to end the vaccination mandate, reinstate employees on leave without pay, and offer severance and back pay to employees who feel unable to return to their jobs because of discrimination and stigma they have suffered as a result of the mandate

Recently, the British government announced the end of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers in England. Saskatchewan and Alberta have also signaled the end of proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirements. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer has said recently that all existing public health policies, including provincial vaccine passports, need to be “re-examined” in the coming weeks.

The first B.C. government employees could be fired as soon as February 22, 2022.

“It’s been a really difficult time, these last few months,” said one affected employee, who asked to remain anonymous. “I’ve laid awake, night after night, wondering how I’m going to pay the rent and bills. I haven’t been able to get EI because of the way the government has reported me on leave, and I don’t know if I’ll get any at all because they’re saying I’ll be terminated for just cause. With Victoria being such a government town, I don’t know how I’m going to find another job like the one I’ve been doing for the last 14 years and survive here.”

The group’s spokesperson is hopeful that there is a shift in the way their employer sees the current situation with the pandemic winding down, and that Wanamaker will hear their appeal to return to work.

“Public servants are dedicated professionals who work hard and care deeply about their communities. Government programs and services have suffered as a result of this mandate and we just want to get back to work and serve the people of British Columbia. We hope Ms. Wanamaker will show bold leadership, do the right thing and end the mandate now.”

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