26 September 2023

CANADA: Union unhappy with new COVID deadline

Start the conversation

The union representing Public Servants in the Canadian Province of British Columbia says it does not think it will be safe for its members to return to offices by the Government’s 12 October deadline.

The Government and Service Employees’ Union, which has already successfully challenged a 7 September return-to-work order, said it would continue to monitor COVID-19 infection numbers to determine if the new date was safe.

Union Treasurer, Paul Finch (pictured) said he was sceptical of the 12 October date considering the effects of the latest Delta variant wave “but it’s obviously early days”.

“If we feel that 12 October is premature and basically that employees are being required to come back before it’s safe to do, we’ll speak up and take on the employer,” Mr Finch said.

There are about 35,000 Government employees in British Columbia, of whom about 13,000 work in the capital region of Victoria.

Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa has ordered that all its employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 November or face losing their salaries and even their jobs.

Having the COVID-19 vaccine is to become a condition of employment in the Municipal Government.

At roughly 20,000 staff members, Ottawa’s Municipal Government is one of the city’s largest employers.

Mayor, Jim Watson said he would also ask the City Council to make it mandatory for Councillors to be vaccinated.

City Manager, Steve Kanellakos said that under city policy employees must have their first vaccination by 15 September and their second by 15 October to make sure they were considered fully vaccinated just over two weeks later on 1 November.

“They will be required to disclose their vaccination status to the city, which is adopting a technology solution to safely store the sensitive information,” Mr Kanellakos said.

“If there are employees who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, they must provide written proof to the city,” he said.

Mr Kanellakos said any staff who didn’t have valid medical reasons or failed to provide proof of vaccination would initially be subjected to a mandatory education session.

Ottawa, 6 September 2021

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.