1. POLICY OVERVIEW
Lax Kw’alaams Band (the “Band”) is committed to providing a safe environment for our elders, most vulnerable members, and for those in the community we serve and interact with on a regular basis. The purpose of this COVID-19 Vaccination Policy (the “Policy”) is to provide guidelines pertaining to the expectations and requirements of our Staff in accordance with, among other things, our rights and obligation pursuant to section 6.34 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
In our day-to-day operations, we have a responsibility to the community, and it is for this reason that it is critical that the Band and its staff take all precautions to protect against COVID-19. A critical component of these precautions is vaccination. The provincial and federal governments and public health authorities have recommended that all individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
This Policy applies to all employees and contractors of the Band, Coast Tsimshian Academy, Lax Kw’alaams Business Development Corp., Lax Kw’alaams Ferry Corp., Lax Kw’alaams Fish Plant and any entity in which the Lax Kw’alaams Band is the majority shareholder. Collectively they will be referred to as the “Staff”.
A) Mandatory Vaccination
All Staff will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by no later than December 24, 2021, (review appropriate implementation date) subject to valid medical and/or religious exemptions.
For the purposes of this Policy, “fully vaccinated” means you have received the full series of a COVID- 19 vaccine or combination of COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada (e.g., two doses of a two-dose vaccine series, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine series); and it has been at least 14 days since you received the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
B) Proof of Vaccination Status
By December 17, 2021, all Staff of the Band must provide, in writing:
- Proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19; or
- Written proof of a medical reason, provided by a physician, that sets out: (i) a documented medical reason for not being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and (ii) the effective time-period for the medical reason.
C) Consequences of Non-Compliance
Staff members who are not fully vaccinated by January 14, 2022 (subject to valid medical or religious exemptions), or who fail to provide the necessary documentation described above, will, at minimum, be placed on an unpaid leave of absence. The Band may also implement other actions, including disciplinary action up to and including the termination of employment.
Where an individual provides a valid medical reason or other valid reason for having not received a COVID-19 vaccination, the Band will work with the individual to develop and implement an appropriate accommodation plan, to the point of undue hardship. Such an accommodation plan will most likely require the following:
- The Staff member must undergo regular rapid antigen or PCR testing for COVID-19 at his or her expense at defined intervals set by the Band; and/or
- The Staff member must provide proof of a negative result after each COVID-19 test, prior to reporting to work.
In addition, the accommodation plan could also include any or all the following:
- Adjustments to work locations.
- Adjustments to scheduling.
- Additional physical distancing requirements; and/or
- Additional requirements respecting the use of Personal Protective Equipment.
This will continue, until the Covid-19 pandemic is declared at an end by Provincial Health Officials, at which time the situation will be assessed by the Chief Administrative Officer.
E. Compliance with Public Health Recommendations and Company Policies
All Staff continue to be required to follow public health recommendations and directives, as well as the Band’s policies regarding use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as physical distancing and hygiene requirements. In addition, the Band requires compliance with all screening protocols deemed appropriate by the Band prior to entry to any work areas and the beginning of work. Any screening protocol or other directive that may be issued by the Band will continue as required, and all such protocols and directives will be periodically re-assessed by the Band and adjusted as appropriate.
Staff continue to be required to stay home and isolate in accordance with applicable public health guidance when they are sick (symptomatic of COVID-19 or otherwise) or deemed to be asymptomatic close contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19. Staff members required to stay home and isolate in accordance with applicable public health guidance must contact their direct manager as soon as possible so that the Band can arrange for alternate coverage. In the case of a Staff member who exhibits symptoms (unrelated to a pre-existing illness or health condition) while at work, must report such symptoms to their direct manager and will then be sent home immediately on an approved medical leave.
Staff members who are sick (symptomatic of COVID-19 or otherwise) are strongly encouraged to contact 811 or a medical doctor for health advice and support. Staff members are also strongly encouraged to contact the Chief Administrative Officer, about the supports available, including use of accrued vacation time and job-protected leaves of absence, as appropriate.
Information relating to an individual’s vaccination status and/or the reason(s) for not receiving a COVID-19 vaccination will be kept as confidential as possible. Such information will not be disclosed to a third party without the express written consent of the Staff member, except as may be required to ensure every precaution reasonable is taken to protect health and safety in our workplace (including, for example, ensuring the safety of the Band’s employees, contractors, clients, and local community members in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak), or as may otherwise be required by law.
5. AMENDMENTS AND COMPLIANCE WITH LAW
As you know, COVID-19 has created an uncertain and rapidly changing environment for all of us. We will continue to monitor developments and adjust this Policy as necessary. This Policy will always be applied in accordance with the British Columbia Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Canada Labour Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act, and all other applicable law.
6. CONTACT FOR INTERPRETATION
We thank you for your cooperation in ensuring that we continue to best provide a safe environment for our Staff, clients, and members of the community. Please contact the Lax Kw’alaams Band Chief Administrative Officer if there are any questionsby