FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccine program was suspended on Friday, January 13, following negotiations with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 399 and 1048. The City and CUPE reached an agreement before the final January 15, 2023, deadline. As a result, staff affected by the program will continue their employment relationship with the City of Prince George beyond January 15.
The mandatory vaccine program came into effect in November 2021 in response to the Provincial Government’s then-recommendation that employees in large organizations be fully vaccinated against coronavirus. To be deemed “fully vaccinated”, City employees were required to receive both doses of a Health Canada-approved, two-dose vaccine or have waited for 14 days after one dose of an approved vaccine series. With some exceptions for regulatory reasons, the deadline for employees to be fully vaccinated was January 14, 2022.
The vaccination program contained a provision respecting the BC Human Rights Code and its requirement to accommodate employees on human rights grounds. Employees who did not have vaccine requirement exemptions were placed on unpaid leave if they did not become vaccinated or disclose their vaccination status by the January 14, 2022, deadline. After a period of 12 months on unpaid leave, the employment relationship with those employees may have terminated if the mandatory vaccine program was still in place.
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Mike Lee, senior communications advisor
City of Prince George