The following email was sent to WorkSafeBC Staff on October 22, 2021:
As you know, our primary focus throughout the pandemic has been — and continues to be — your health and safety, alongside our service to B.C.’s workers and employers. Those priorities have been front and centre in our decision-making, and we have continued adapting organizationally as circumstances shift.
As leaders in injury and disease prevention in our province, we are now taking further steps to ensure the health of both our employees and those we interact with by introducing a vaccination mandate.
As of November 1, all WorkSafeBC employees whose role requires them to interact in person with employers, workers, and members of the public — or with other WorkSafeBC employees — will be required to be vaccinated. Full vaccination (both doses) will be required before entering our offices, public or private workplaces, and workers’ homes. This decision is grounded, as always, in public health guidance; as leaders, we must take every available step to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our workplaces and our communities.
Evidence supporting a vaccine mandate
The scientific evidence supporting this approach is clear. According to B.C.’s Ministry of Health, after factoring for age, unvaccinated people are 37.9 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated. Those who have been vaccinated are protecting not just their own health, but the health of all those who aren’t eligible for vaccines, including children under 12. They are also helping assure the sustainability of our health care systems, by reducing the burden on those who work in them.
While we will not be requiring those employees who fall outside this policy be vaccinated, I want to strongly encourage anyone who remains unvaccinated to act. Our shared commitment to occupational health and safety underscores our responsibility to our fellow community members, and as COVID-19 case counts increase around the province, so does the urgency of vaccination. We will, however, do our best to accommodate those who are unable to be vaccinated.
Continuation of supplementary measures supporting vaccination
While vaccines have been identified as the primary preventative measure to prevent illness and reduce the risk of hospitalization and death, it’s important to continue with our supplementary protocols, which include mask-wearing, social distancing, and handwashing in all our facilities.
How it will work
Employee Health, Safety and Wellness continues to ensure we follow our communicable-disease safety plan and are now working with Innovation and Technology to develop an efficient, one-time personalized declaration method that will allow staff to attest to their vaccinations. Details of the process will be communicated in the coming days.
Thank you for your continued dedication to keeping yourselves, your loved ones, your colleagues, your communities, and those we serve healthy and safe. I’m proud to be leading an organization that embodies the concept of the greater good — it’s why our collective action on this issue is so important.
Anne Naser President & CEOWorkSafeBC