A B.C. Supreme Court judge has refused to give an injunction blocking the government from terminating suspended public servants for not providing proof of COVID vaccination after deferring her ruling for a week.
On Friday, Justice Carol J. Ross dismissed a petition filed by four non-union B.C. public employees seeking to postpone their impending terminations. The injunction was sought to prevent the group from being fired before their constitutional challenge to the province’s vaccine mandate could be heard in May.
Many other jurisdictions are welcoming back unvaccinated workers in all sorts of employment areas
The not-for-profit society BCPS Employees for Freedom – which says it represents 500 members including union and non-union personnel both vaccinated and unvaccinated – released a statement after the decision.
“While we are disappointed with today’s ruling, which now removes any legal impediment for the BC Public Service to terminate employees for cause and deny them severance pay and Employment Insurance, we look forward to the full constitutional case to be argued in B.C. Supreme Court the week of May 16, 2022, against this heavy-handed mandate.”
Umar Sheikh, a lawyer for the petitioners, also issued a brief statement, saying, “(w)e look forward to bringing forward this very important constitutional case and seeking full damages for our clients.”
The decision comes as B.C. government employees continue to be fired after being placed on unpaid leave in November for not providing proof of vaccination with the province’s mandatory vaccination mandate. HR Policy 25 was established about a month after the vaccination mandate was published, essentially making two COVID shots a retroactive condition of hire.
John Horgan and his NDP government thought it was a great idea to actually bake this in to law. it was Friday Nov 19 what it was rammed through and the following Monday just 3 days later, the party that calls itself the party for the working class forced workers onto unpaid leave.
The order authorizes noncompliant workers to be fired “with cause” – a term that has generally been reserved for the most serious professional offences, with no right to severance, employment insurance, or other benefits.
The mandate is expected to be in place until “public health concerns regarding COVID are reduced to a level, prescribed by government, to enable workplaces to operate without COVID-related restrictions.”
According to a BC Government news release. In addition, effective April 8, 2022, at 12:01 a.m., the following changes will also be made to public health orders:
- The remainder of the Workplace Safety Order will be lifted, which means businesses will Showing the BC Vaccine Card proof of vaccination to access non-essential events, services and businesses will no longer be required. Individual businesses and organizations can choose to continue to require the BC Vaccine Card proof on their premises.
- The remainder of the Workplace Safety Order will be lifted, which means businesses will transition back to communicable disease plans to reduce risk of all communicable disease.
- The requirement for students residing in residence to be fully vaccinated under the Post-secondary Institution Housing COVID-19 Preventative Measures Order will be repealed.
B.C. continues to be one of the most authoritarian with the most strict vaccination policies in the world for its employees with no alternative. Not even testing. British Columbia has been the slowest province to announce an actual timeline to dropping COVID restrictions and the last province with vaccine passports in place.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has also brought legal action against the province over the vaccine mandate, and will represent several healthcare workers who have already lost their jobs.
Last month The B.C. health ministry released the numbers of employees that were terminated because of the policy and it was thousands of healthcare workers. The province has experienced staff shortages for the last decade and Health Minister Adrian Dix has admitted that one week in January saw 27,937 shifts unfilled, while on Feb. 3, a newborn child died at Lions Gate Hospital after staffing issues saw a potentially life-saving procedure delayed.