The Saskatchewan Party government announced some weeks ago that they were directing health employers to develop proof of vaccination policies. You may have heard about this in the media, in press releases, or through information provided by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and affiliate employers or a communique (September 1st) from us.
The health care unions had been provided with an initial draft policy and had discussions at the daily briefing calls with the SHA about the policy. Please be clear that this is not a collaboration for a policy but rather comments on a policy direction the employer is intending.
Yesterday, there was a press release from the Saskatchewan Party government saying that the SHA policy would be in effect October 1st.
We immediately requested the amended draft policy, which we received late last night. The SHA is calling this a policy directive and not a policy. What we received was a framework with no appendices, no forms, no questions and answers, no definitions, and no procedures. On the SHA briefing call this morning, the health care unions unanimously endorsed the position that no policy or policy directive should be implemented until the unions have full disclosure of all relevant information – definitions, dates of phased implementation, communication plan, form of proof of vaccination, etc.
We would like to share what we learned today. This information was provided verbally and not in writing, so it is subject to change. There seems to be a lot of uncertainties yet, even though the policy is being implemented in just a couple days.
- The press release yesterday said that there would be a phased implementation of the SHA policy. Today the SHA says that this would likely involve two phases. In Phase one all SHA employees would be asked to submit a declaration stating whether or not they intended to comply with the policy, whether they are immunized, whether they are going to seek an accommodation under the prohibited grounds of religious or medical exemption, or whether they intend to enroll in the SHA COVID-19 monitored testing program. Phase 2 is where either proof of vaccination or a negative test would be required. At that point the employer would begin assessing employees for compliance with the policy.
- As far as we know now, and as per yesterday’s press release, the testing would be on the employees’ own time and at their own expense.
There is a number of factors that we use to assess a policy. We do not have enough information to fully assess this policy. The unions have requested and have received assurances of an update on the draft policy on Tuesday from the SHA.
We will be having a member information meeting on October 7th at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the policy. Please join us.
In the meantime, please understand that you will not be asked to or required to show proof of vaccination on October 1st.
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