COVID-19 vaccination policy for BC Public Service employees

Last updated: December 20, 2021

  • The BC Public Service is committed to the health, safety and well-being of employees
  • In accordance with information and data provided by British Columbia’s Provincial Health Office, being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective way to safeguard employee health and reduce the risk of transmission

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Key dates for 2021

  • October 5: the Deputy Minister to the Premier announced requirement for employees to provide proof of vaccination
  • November 1: PSA policy and guidelines established
  • November 8: supervisors begin requesting proof of vaccination status
  • November 22: all employees are required to be fully vaccinated
  • December 13: contractors and other parties entering public service workplaces (except to access a government service) are required to be fully vaccinated

Purpose of the new HR policies

Principles

  1. Align to guidance from the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC 
  2. Balance the privacy and human rights issues of employees with the need to maintain safe workplace for everyone
  3. Ensure a respectful work environment. Harassment based on employee vaccination status or accommodation will not be tolerated

Essential steps for employees

Step 1

Provide proof of vaccination to your supervisor or other designated manager upon request using your digital or paper B.C. Vaccine Card.

Step 2

If you’re seeking accommodation based on a medical exemption or another protected ground as defined under B.C.'s Human Rights Code, speak with your supervisor or designated manager.

Step 3

Treat each other with kindness and respect. Harassment based on employee vaccination status or accommodation will not be tolerated.


Essential steps for supervisors or designated managers

Before you begin

  • Determine if you've been designated to record employees’ vaccination status by your ministry strategic human resources (SHR) department
  • If you've been designated, remember information about an individual’s vaccination status is personal information and must be treated in confidence
    • No employee, including supervisors or designated managers, should share vaccination information about an employee outside of the disclosure process

Disclosure period:
November 1 to November 22, 2021

Step 1: Beginning November 1, 2021 and prior to meeting with your employee, send the email notice template (provided by SHR departments) to employees of the requirement to provide proof of vaccination

Step 2: Beginning November 8, 2021, review and verify the employee's proof of vaccination in-person or via live video conference

Step 3: Record employee's vaccination status or non-disclosure, ensuring confidentiality

Step 4: Send the 'Proof of Vaccination Confirmation Form' to your ministry SHR department

Step 5: Work with the PSA to respond to employees’ request for medical exemption or accommodation under B.C.'s Human Rights Code


Post-disclosure period:
after November 22, 2021

Work with the PSA and your ministry SHR department to:

Step 6: Place unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave of absence for non-compliance

Step 7: Work with partially vaccinated employees to identify possible alternative work arrangements


Supervisors' video resources

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy: Essential Steps for Supervisors or Designated Managers

Watch this video for detailed steps and key information related to the COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Dealing with Vaccine Hesitancy: Tips for Supervisors

Watch this video for tips on how to talk to employees about the COVID-19 vaccination policy.


Accommodations request process

Employees seeking a medical exemption or accommodation must speak with their supervisor or designated manager.

Supervisors and designated managers must seek advice from the PSA through AskMyHR. Submit an AskMyHR (IDIR restricted) service request using the category > My Team or Organization > COVID-19 > Vaccine Exemption Accommodation Requests.

Effective November 8, 2021, employees may request an accommodation for exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination policy based on a medical condition or other protected ground as defined under B.C.'s Human Rights Code.

Employees must submit an exemption request in writing to their excluded manager or to an included supervisor who has been delegated this responsibility. The request must contain complete and accurate information describing the need for accommodation including medical or other documentation, information on relevant limitations, restrictions and their vaccination status.

Employees may be asked to submit their request to their excluded manager or to an included supervisor using the following forms from the PSA:

Managers have the right to ask for and collect additional information to assess the merits of an accommodation request and establish reasonable accommodation. Managers must consult with the PSA to assess whether an accommodation is appropriate and, if so, establish reasonable accommodation. Requests for accommodations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and each case will be carefully assessed on its own merits.

It's important to note that accommodations are not the same as personal preferences or personal choices. Rather, there must be a clear reason (with supporting documentation) under one of the grounds protected under the B.C.'s Human Rights Code as to why an employee cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19. Where necessary, legal and/or medical expertise will be sought to guide accommodation recommendations to managers.

Once a manager or supervisor has submitted an accommodation request through AskMyHR, a representative from the PSA will be in contact as soon as possible to support managers through the process.

Managers are encouraged to read the Managers guide to reasonable accommodation for general guidance on the accommodation process. Bargaining unit employees should also review their applicable collective agreement for any relevant provisions related to accommodation or contact their union/association for support. Excluded employees may choose to reach out to their employee association for support.

 

Requirements for new employees

Confirmation of full vaccination will be required for any new employees with a start date on or after November 8, 2021. Effective as of this date, the requirement to be fully vaccinated will be included in all job postings and offer letters.

Confirmation of full vaccination will occur as part of the hiring process or as part of the pre-employment assessment and screening, depending on the type of job posting.

Employees who join the BC Public Service between October 5, 2021 and November 8, 2021 will be expected to become partially vaccinated by November 22, 2021 and fully vaccinated 35 days after their first dose.


COVID-19 vaccination: contractors and other parties

Learn more about vaccine requirements

Amendments to HR Policy #4 – Occupational Safety and Health outline the following expectation:

  • Effective December 13, 2021, all contractors and other parties entering a staff-only area of an indoor public service workplace while public service staff are present must provide proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 before entering. This does not include clients or the public receiving a direct ministry service
  • Organizations, workplaces and staff must confirm proof of full vaccination for any party they're responsible for or otherwise allow, invite or direct into a staff-only area of an indoor workplace. This requirement includes, but is not limited to, contractors, statutory appointees, meeting attendees, interns, students, staff from other employers and visitors