On August 30, 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that the Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority “will be working with the public health sector representation to establish a policy that requires front-line health care workers to provide proof of vaccination in the workplace. If these health care providers elect not to be fully vaccinated, they will be required to undertake regular COVID-19 testing.”
The press release went on to say that details on this workplace policy will be announced in the coming days.
CUPE Local 5430 has regularly communicated with you about vaccinations and encouraged you to get vaccinated. We have advocated for frontline workers excluded by the government to be included in the early phases of the vaccine rollout. We have invited you to informational webinars about vaccinations where you were able to ask an expert any question that you wanted. We have shared information on vaccinations.
Everyone who can get vaccinated against COVID-19 should.
Vaccines are an important part of ensuring our workplaces are safe for everyone, and we have always placed the highest priority on our members’ health and safety.
We believe unions are the “public health sector representation” the release refers to. We heard about the announcement 10 minutes before the government made it. CUPE has not seen even a draft of the policy, and we will have questions. As we understand it, this is not a vaccine mandate in the sense that they are not requiring frontline health care workers to receive the vaccine to be in the workplace. Rather, those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated will need to be tested regularly in the workplace. We will be working to ensure that the policy respects the collective agreement and our members’ safety. We have lots of questions about how the policy will be enacted and practically applied in our workplaces.
This vaccine policy does not replace the employer’s obligation to keep you safe with personal protective equipment, proper ventilation, infection prevention and control mechanisms, and thorough cleaning. As we enter the fourth wave with no public health orders or restrictions in place, the safety of CUPE members is the highest priority. We will also be advocating for the employer to take additional steps to keep workers safe, including requiring visitors to long-term care facilities to be masked and mandatory self-isolation for all positive COVID-19 cases. Vaccination is only one part of an overall public health strategy.
We will continue to provide updates and information as we learn more.
CUPE National’s Vaccine Mandate Guidelines can be found here.
We like hearing from you. If you have questions or concerns or just want to let us know how you are doing, please reach out.
- Main office: 306-546-2185