B.C. health-care workers sidelined by the COVID-19 vaccine mandate will not be returning to work any time soon.
In fact, it is possible that they never will be.
On the same day that the provincial government lifted the vaccine mandate for its BC Public Service employees, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the same will not be happening in health care.
When asked Friday if a vaccine requirement would be permanently added to the professional contracts of health-care workers, Henry suggested they are intending to do so.
“Yes, we are looking at how important is it to have immunization and protection of health-care workers of each other and in health-care settings,” she said.
“So I don’t expect that to be something that will change. We're looking at what does that mean in terms of policies and regulations within the health-care sector.”
“I don't expect it to change either,” added Health Minister Adrian Dix.
A policy making the mandate permanent would almost certainly be challenged in the courts. Back in 2018, the Ontario Nurses' Association defeated in court a “vaccinate or mask” policy for influenza in that province.
About 2,500 British Columbian health-care workers were terminated in 2021 for being unvaccinated for COVID-19. That was under two per cent of B.C.’s health-care workforce.
The BC Liberal Party has been calling on the government to lift the mandate. B.C. and Nova Scotia are the only two provinces to still have one in place in health care.