VANCOUVER (June 16, 2022) – BC United Leader Kevin Falcon and BC United Critic for Health Shirley Bond released the following joint statement in response to the federal government’s suspension of vaccine mandates:
“In light of the federal government’s recent decision to suspend vaccine mandates for domestic travellers, transportation workers, and federal employees, it is time for the B.C. government to now do the same for provincial employees here in B.C.
“Government has a responsibility to ensure our health care system can meet the needs of British Columbians. That responsibility includes ensuring vaccination requirements — which were always meant to be a temporary measure — aren’t putting undue strain on our health care system, which is already in a state of crisis and suffering from a severe staffing shortage.
“It is time for the provincial government to follow the science and lead of the federal government, and suspend the temporary vaccine mandate for provincial employees. As we enter an endemic phase it makes no sense to prevent healthcare workers, conservation officers, or those who will be needed on the front line for this year’s wildfire season from working.
“Throughout the pandemic, public health officials had to make difficult decisions, which we supported, including the introduction of vaccination requirements to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As we transition towards an endemic approach to managing COVID-19, it is now time for the provincial government to suspend its mandates and develop a pathway back to employment — with robust safety protocols in place — for the nearly 2,500 health care workers and other public service employees.
“Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has meant adjusting our approach according to the science and the situation on the ground. Considering the improved public health situation in B.C. and the new steps taken by the federal government, we are urging the provincial government and Crown corporations to adopt a similar approach.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, British Columbians have worked to do everything they can to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. It has been a challenging two years, but we have made it where we are today by working together.”