Order Contains Important Information for CUPE Health Members
Please find attached a copy of the Order of the Provincial Health Officer, dated October 14, 2021, related to Hospital and Community (Health Care and other services) COVID-19 vaccination status information and preventive measures.
The Order contains important information about who the Order applies to, how the impact of COVID-19 variant development has affected provincial efforts to contain the pandemic, and why a vaccine mandate for all health workers was deemed necessary. The Order, which applies to all CUPE members working in health care, comes into effect on October 26, 2021 and will replace previous requirements.
Under the Order, all health care workers will be required to be fully vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption. No other exemptions will be accepted, and failure to comply with the Order could result in termination.
“The presence of virus variants of concern in the Province, in particular the Delta variant, has not only heightened the risk to the population generally but, more particularly, has significantly heightened the risk to individuals of advanced age, and individuals with chronic health
conditions or compromised immune systems,” says Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, adding that the public health care system is under severe stress and stretched beyond its capacity to prevent and respond to illness resulting from COVID-19 transmission.
“Vaccination is safe, very effective, and the single most important preventative measure health professionals…can take to protect patients, residents and clients, and the health and personal care workforce, from infection, severe illness and possible death from COVID-19.”
The Order addresses concerns about individual rights and freedoms. It notes that individual liberty, as defined by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is not absolute but subject to reasonable limits, including “proportionate, precautionary, and evidence-based restrictions to prevent loss of life, serious illness and death, and disruption of our health system and society.”
Pages 10 through 17 provide specific information about how the Order will affect health care workers. Requests for exemption from the requirement to be vaccinated, or to provide proof of vaccination, “must be made on the basis that the health of the person would be seriously jeopardized if the person were to comply with the Order” and must follow the guidelines contained here:
If you believe you have a case for reconsideration that qualifies you for an exemption, you can submit a request directly to Dr. Bonnie Henry at PHOExemptions@gov.bc.ca with the subject line “Request for Reconsideration about Preventative Measures in Hospital or Community Locations.” For further clarification of the new Order, you can also contact Dr. Henry at:
Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer 4th Floor, 1515 Blanshard Street
PO Box 9648 STN PROV GOVT, Victoria, B.C. V8W 9P4
In the meantime, your CUPE National Health Sector Coordinator continues to work with HEABC, the bargaining associations and employers to ensure comprehension and clarity in the Order’s application. Please remember that matters are developing rapidly in response to the Order, and we don’t have all the answers yet. As we learn more, locals will be provided with updates for circulation to members.
Please note that CUPE National supports COVID-19 vaccination as a mechanism to stop the virus and enable our members to continue providing valuable, public services. For more information, visit: