BC’s mandatory vaccine order for long-term care and assisted living workers is now in effect. As of October 12, employees of these facilities must have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or be off work without pay.
Axing otherwise dedicated staff for refusing to get the jab may put some employers in a difficult position, especially since seniors’ care was already experiencing staffing shortages before the pandemic.
It’ll also be tough on some workers unwilling to get the jab, but that is their personal choice.
Pro-virus protestors and anti-vaxxers may argue that this mandate is an infringement of their human rights. That’s why the BC Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender provided guidance on the issue.
It’s an important read.
Though not legally binding, the Human Rights Commissioner’s guidance helps place mandatory vaccines into the broader context of public good and individual rights. It also provides insight into how the BC Human Rights Tribunal might treat a complaint from an anti-vaxxer about mandatory vaccines.
Govender established five criteria, and here they are in a nutshell.
1)They must be supported by scientific evidence relevant to the specific context.
2) They must be time-limited and regularly reviewed.
3)They must be proportional to the risks they seek to address.
4)They must be necessary due to the lack of less-intrusive alternatives.
5)They must be respectful of privacy to the extent required by law.
Clearly, requiring mandatory vaccines for people who work with seniors in care facilities, our most vulnerable citizens, easily meets the standard set by the Human Rights commissioner. Thousands of seniors have died in care homes across Canada since this pandemic started.
Yeah, this is uncomfortable public policy, and some people may think it invades their personal rights. But we’re sorry, it’s time to take one for the team.
Think about it. A family wanting to visit their elderly loved ones in care facilities has had to show proof of vaccination for months now. So wouldn’t it be absurd to continue permitting unvaccinated staff to care for the same people?