Employment lawyer on B.C vaccine passports

Interview Summary

The provincial government in British Columbia has decided to impose a vaccine passport for all residents in order to access recreational venues and events. This decision will impact many employers and employees across the province. Will employees be able to refuse vaccination if they work in a recreational venue? What alternatives do employers have in terms of health and safety measures?

Mackenzie Irwin, an employment lawyer and Associate at Samfru Tumarkin LLP joins Global News Radio 980 CKNW on the Jill Bennett show to answer these questions and more.

Interview Notes

What does this announcement from the B.C government mean for residents regarding vaccines?

The government is putting in place a temporary measure in order to help curb the rise in cases particularly due to the delta variant. It is important to remember this measure is temporary and is set to expire in January 2022.

What impact do mandatory health measures have on employers?

There has been a trend in mandatory vaccine policies for certain industries and employers. Employers need to be aware of the current government orders and measures that seem to be changing on a weekly basis. In some industries, such as the healthcare sector, mandates are more prevalent. Employers have an obligation to provide a healthy and safe environment for all staff.

What can employers do if they face pushback on mandatory vaccinations?

Until there is a mandatory vaccination policy in all workplaces from the government, employers cannot impose their own vaccine policy for their employees. Employers can implement other measures in order to maintain a safe environment such as mask-wearing, social distancing, etc.

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What are the legal ramifications of a vaccine mandate from the government?

The current vaccine passport is supposed to be a temporary measure and does have an end date. A vaccine policy could face some legal challenges if implemented as vaccinations cannot be temporary and human rights will have to be taken into account.

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