To date, BCPS Employees for Freedom has not received any response to our letter to the editor of the Victoria Times Colonist sent on February 8, 2022. If and when we do, we will update this post.
February 8, 2022
Editor and Publisher
Victoria Times Colonist
Dear Mr. Obee:
Re: TC Coverage of our Letter to Lori Wanamaker, Head of the BC Public Service
This letter is in response to the article entitled “Unvaccinated public servants who face firing want mandate quashed” that appeared in the Victoria Times Colonist on February 8, 2022. As editor, there are a few comments as well as errors in the article we would like to bring to your attention.
First, we would like to clarify for your readers that the BCPS Employees for Freedom group includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated (i.e. vaccine-free) B.C. public servants. As such, the title of the article and several references throughout are not accurate when it states we are all “unvaccinated”. We would like to ask that the article be corrected to include reference to all of our members, including those who are vaccinated. No matter what one’s vaccination status is, we share equally profound concern for our rights to medical privacy and bodily autonomy, and are distressed by the manner in which these have been disregarded by our employer.
Second, we feel the Times Colonist missed an opportunity to provide its readers with further context on this story by not asking additional important questions when seeking comment from the BC Public Service Agency (PSA). For example, how many employees have sought medical, religious or political exemptions from the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy? How many of these exemption requests have been denied? How many have been approved? In addition, we are aware of a large number of unanticipated retirements and resignations in the months since the policy was announced on October 5, 2021. How many experienced B.C. public servants have left the 30,000 member workforce to avoid this vaccine mandate? We would be pleased if the Times Colonist were to seek a response from the PSA on this question.
Additionally, the PSA could have been probed further about their long-term plan for the policy. For example, when the vaccination requirement is no longer needed because COVID-19 has become endemic in the population, how will they manage those public servants who were terminated from their jobs? Will they be allowed to reapply in the future? Could they be reinstated? The B.C. government and Public Service have failed to provide a coherent explanation for their decision-making. Given other provinces like Saskatchewan and Alberta are now currently dropping their vaccine passport requirements, we may assume this possibility is on the horizon in B.C. We believe this should be addressed immediately. Especially since the livelihoods of many hundreds of dedicated, professional public servants hang in the balance, and without whom government programs and services in British Columbia will continue to suffer.
Third, the article concludes with the latest daily statistics about the number of persons reported in hospital and intensive care for COVID-19. However, it does not indicate what percentage of these patients are vaccinated and what percentage are vaccine-free. Based on the latest data from the BC Centre for Disease Control, most reported COVID cases (nearly 80%) are among those who have received one, two or three doses of a vaccine. This type of additional statistical information on the COVID-19 health outcomes of the vaccinated would provide helpful context for your readership.
We thank you for taking an interest in and covering our story and allowing us this opportunity to address your readers in this letter to the editor.
BCPS Employees for Freedom
Letters to the Editor
Cindy E. Harnett