Staff enforcing B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine card mandate might not actually be vaccinated themselves. As WorkSafeBC puts it, the mandate is only required for patrons, not for workers.
And it all lies in the definition of what is “essential.”
This coming Monday, Sept. 13th, eligible British Columbians aged 12 and older will need proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to attend social and recreational settings and events. By Oct. 24th, B.C.’ers need proof of both doses.
After speaking to the office of the BC Ministry of Health, our newsroom was told it’s considered essential for people to work. This means there’s no vaccination mandate needed for employment.
“Businesses should not request to see an employee’s proof of vaccination as part of the ‘BC Vaccine Card’ program unless the employee is attending as a customer,” reads a post on WorkSafeBC’s website.
And while some employers are required to check their employees for proof of vaccination, such as those working long-term care, for other employers, it’s ultimately up to them whether they want their staff vaccinated or not.
However, going to restaurants to dine in, and attending certain events and venues is not considered essential, prompting the vaccine card mandate for these purposes.
WorkSafeBC is now urging employers to brace for harassment, threats, or violent behaviour from patrons. It says employers are actually required to have policies and procedures in place to protect workers.
That said, one city on Vancouver Island is budgeting $125,000 to set up check booths with security hosts at the entrances of two major city facilities. In Campbell River, check-in areas will be installed at both the Sportsplex in Willowpoint and the downtown Community Centre.
The budget motion was ultimately passed by city council this past Tuesday, Sept. 7th, but one councillor just couldn’t get behind it.
With COVID-19 vaccination not currently a condition of employment for staff at either facility, Councillor Kermit Dahl said, “If we’re going to be asking people to show documentation to prove that they have shots, we’re going to have to be able to prove that we’ve got shots.”
According to WorkSafeBC, “businesses or institutions may choose to adopt their own vaccination policies for their employees but would be responsible for doing their own due diligence.” Find more details here.