Update on the Implementation of the City of Vancouver Mandatory Vaccination Policy
As most of you will likely have heard through the City Manager’s email update sent yesterday, the City has now postponed the implementation date of their Mandatory Vaccination Policy to January 6, 2022. This means that the City will require all staff (excluding those with accommodations) to provide proof of either being fully vaccinated or having had at least their first shot by that date and will allow for 35 days from the date of the first shot to get the second shot. The Employer will then be placing all those they deem non-compliant with the policy on unpaid leave effective January 7.
While our Local has not yet received a response from the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) on our Section 54 application, this delay in implementation is a result of successful applications made by other unions within the public sector which support the requirement for the employer to provide at least 60 days’ notice of a policy requiring proof of vaccination.
The City has stated they will not be engaging with the Union in any further discussions on modifying the policy to mitigate its impacts, as the 60-day notice period is intended to facilitate. Rather, they will be meeting with us in the coming weeks in accordance with our Policy Grievance procedure.
Response to Feedback from Members
We appreciate that there are strong and varied opinions on this issue. We have heard from many who support the City’s policy; we have also heard from many who are opposed to the City’s policy, including vaccinated people who do not agree with a vaccine mandate.
To those with concerns around having unvaccinated colleagues in the workplace, we would highlight that the Employer has demonstrated they can safely manage the pandemic in the employment context, as we have seen very few if any workplace transmissions of the virus throughout the entirety of this pandemic. The Union continues to support the maintenance of all appropriate safety measures, and there are alternatives to a vaccine mandate that would ensure safety going forward. Thus, our focus at this point must be on the members facing the most imminent peril, those whose livelihoods are at risk.
We are bound by legislation to uphold our duty of fair representation to the entirety of our membership and are doing so by aiming to promote the highest possible level of safety in the workplace while also protecting job security for workers who have helped carry the City through this extraordinarily challenging time.
Please note that with each update we send out, we receive many responses. We do read all of these messages and keep them for our records. We will respond to questions that require an answer, however, cannot reply to all emails simply expressing an opinion.