Hundreds of people took to the B.C. Legislature lawn Sunday afternoon to protesting the B.C. government’s recent vaccine mandates.
“I’m not going to disclose my vaccination status,” said Paul Servant, a father of three and an employee with the Ministry of Citizens’ Services who is also a member of the group BC Public Service Employees for Freedom. “That is my own private information to be shared between me and my doctor only, not between anyone else.”
Last month the B.C. government announced a vaccine mandate for roughly 30,000 public service employees, meaning workers like Servant have until Nov. 22 to prove their vaccine status, or they’ll be placed on a three-month unpaid leave.
After that, they may be fired.
“The BC Public Service is held to the highest example and is there to serve the people in B.C.,” said provincial Health Minister, Adrian Dix, on Oct. 5. “This important step reflects that duty.”
Despite more than 80 per cent of eligible B.C. residents being vaccinated and all levels of government and healthcare urging the public to get the jab, a small yet passionate minority are willing to sacrifice their careers for the cause.
“I’d rather lose a job and keep my principles,” Sara Grant, an employee of the Ministry of Public Safety, said Sunday. “The government should not have to force people into proving something, and whether they want to do it or not, is their privacy.”
Their reasons range from invasions of privacy to safety concerns.
“Well, I don’t want to be part of the experiment,” said Colleen Hickey, a healthcare worker already placed on leave due to a separate mandate for healthcare workers. “I want to keep my job and I care for my clients. I’m a health care worker because I care about the people I work for.”
Hickey, who is a single parent, says she’s worked with seniors for the past eight years, including during the pandemic. Regardless of the consequences, she says she won’t get the jab.
CHEK News spoke to other protesters Sunday, including a mother of four and healthcare worker from Duncan who, did not provide her name, but said she’s protesting because she feels her religious objection is being ignored.
Another healthcare said if she loses her job, she’ll find another way to “serve her community” while many others said they’ll explore legal options if they lose their jobs.
Story idea or news tip? Contact us at [email protected]