Hon. John Horgan
Premier of British Columbia
West Annex, Parliament Buildings
Dear Premier Horgan,
I’m writing to you today to request answers to a number of questions being raised by British Columbians following your announcement of a vaccine card to provide proof of vaccination to access non-essential services.
The Official Opposition has always been supportive of vaccination and encouraged all British Columbians to get their COVID-19 shot. We, like all British Columbians, have followed the advice of B.C.’s Public Health Officer and done our part to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
However, we continue to see a lack of clarity around how the vaccine card program will be rolled out. We, as the Official Opposition, pose the following questions on behalf of B.C. residents and business owners:
- Will you consider medical exemptions to ensure some people are not condemned to an extended period of social isolation?
- Will you clarify rules for proof of vaccination in post-secondary institutions to clear up the confusion for students, educators, and administrators?
- Will you provide clarity as well as training, standard signage, and financial support so front-line staff and small business owners can effectively enforce the proof of vaccination, including for out-of-province visitors, and are not forced to cover the cost of implementing a public health order?
- Will you support businesses to protect their staff from abusive customers?
- Will you provide liability protection to businesses enforcing the program, who fear lawsuits will be forthcoming?
- Will you provide a clearer definition of ‘foodservice businesses,’ to clear up confusion over which businesses must require and enforce proof of vaccination?
- Can you outline how the government engaged with law enforcement before stating that they can be called in to diffuse heated disputes at B.C. businesses? What additional resources are being provided to law enforcement to take on this additional work?
- Due to IHA health orders, high intensity indoor group exercise businesses, such as spin studios and hot yoga studios, have been closed since August 20, 2021. Will these businesses be able to reopen once the proof of vaccination requirement comes into effect on September 13, 2021?
- High intensity group exercise businesses were closed with no advance notice, and many are now uncertain if they can survive for much longer. Will the government provide immediate financial ‘circuit breaker type’ support for these businesses if they will not be allowed to reopen on September 13, 2021?
- When will you provide details on how the technology used for proof of vaccination will work? What protections for privacy will be in place? Can you assure British Columbians that the system will be ready for a flawless launch on September 13, 2021?
- When will seniors, who may not be tech-savvy, find out how to navigate the paper system and when will paper copies be mailed out and delivered to seniors and others who would prefer that format?
We must ensure we show compassion to those who, for serious medical reasons, cannot access a COVID-19 vaccine through no fault of their own. We must provide support to business owners who have been caught off guard by this announcement, and whose staff must be protected. And we must provide reassurance to stressed seniors, parents, students, and educators.
People want to do the right thing, but they need clear answers from you and your government. I look forward to your timely response to these questions — as do British Columbians.
MLA, Prince George-Valemount
Interim Leader of the Official Opposition