COVID-19 Updates

As the situation with COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) continues to develop and we receive on-going updates from the federal and provincial governments, our firm has been creating regular COVID-19 information bulletins. These bulletins are designed to cover the key developments in the COVID-19 pandemic and offer insights to employers operating in B.C. during this rapidly changing situation.

All of our current COVID-19 bulletins can be found at the bottom of this page, and we will be continuously updating this page as new information becomes available. If you would like to ensure you receive our bulletins as soon as they are published, please sign-up here.

We caution that the pandemic and the responses of federal and provincial governments continue to evolve by the day and by the hour. If you have any questions as to whether the information in any of our bulletins is still current, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We are here to be of service during these challenging times. If you have any questions at all about how your workplace should be addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our firm.

  • New Amendments to Paid Sick Leave Under Employment Standards Act

    March 30, 2022

    Effective January 1, 2022, the BC government added employer-paid sick leave under BC’s Employment Standards Act (“ESA”). Previous RG updates have covered this topic, please see our articles on November 25, 2021, and January 26, 2022. The BC government announced on Monday, March 28, 2022, that it would introduce further amendments to the ESA paid sick leave.

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  • Mandatory Vaccination Policy Upheld by BC Arbitrator

    March 23, 2022

    On March 21, 2022, Arbitrator Somjen upheld a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy in BC Hydro & Power Authority and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 258.

    The employer’s vaccination policy was found to be reasonable, except for language contemplating discipline for non-adherence to the policy. The arbitrator held that the express reference to discipline in the policy was excessive but contemplated that a termination could result at some future time.

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  • Complaint About Mandatory Masking Policy Dismissed

    March 21, 2022

    In its November 17, 2021 decision in Coelho v. Lululemon Athletica Canada Inc., 2021 BCHRT 156, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) dismissed a human rights complaint filed against Lululemon regarding its COVID-19-related mandatory masking policy.

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  • PHO Order Requires Disclosure of Vaccine Status of Health Care Providers

    March 16, 2022

    In October 2021, the Provincial Health Officer ordered health professionals to be vaccinated if they were employed, contracted, or funded to provide services by provincially funded services.  The order, effective October 26, 2021, stated that other health professionals – those working outside provincial funding systems – would be required to be vaccinated at a future date.

    On February 9, 2022, Dr. Henry announced that these other health care providers would have to be vaccinated by March 24, 2022, or cease providing services.

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  • BC Government Implements Changes to COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks, Proof of Vaccination

    March 14, 2022

    On March 10, 2022, the BC provincial government announced certain changes to its COVID-19-related restrictions. As of March 11, the provincial health order requiring face coverings (i.e. masks) was repealed, except as it applies to schools. Other measures announced include an easing of the requirement that faith communities restrict attendance based on vaccination status, and the requirements applying to overnight camps for children and youth.

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  • Don’t Forget to Reactivate Your COVID-19 Safety Plan

    January 27, 2022

    By now, we are likely all used to the changing guidance in both our personal and professional lives. Therefore, on January 20, 2022, in the wake of Omicron, the fastest spreading strain of the COVID-19 virus, for most employers it likely came as no surprise when Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a new public order requiring all businesses to implement (or reactivate) a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

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  • Update on Five Paid Sick Days Under Employment Standards Act

    January 26, 2022

    The New Year brought employers in British Columbia a requirement to provide their employees with five paid sick (illness or injury) days. Since the requirement came into effect on January 1, 2022, we have been fielding questions about the implementation of the five paid sick days in the workplace. Below we highlight some of our more frequently asked questions.

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  • Arbitrators Consider Vaccination Policies

    December 7, 2021

    In the past few weeks, arbitrators have begun to issue decisions considering the reasonableness of COVID-19 vaccination policies in unionized workplaces. The following three decisions out of Ontario provide some key takeaways for employers.

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  • ESA: Five Days Paid Personal Illness or Injury (Sick) Leave, as of January 1, 2022

    November 25, 2021

    On May 28, 2021 we issued an update regarding Bill 13 Employment Standards Amendment Act (No. 2), 2021 (“Bill 13”), which amended the British Columbia Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”).  Bill 13 added temporary paid COVID leave (ending December 31, 2021) and added paid leave for personal illness or injury commencing January 1, 2022 (“Paid Sick Leave”), with the amount of days to be determined.

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  • Opposing Government Rules Regarding Vaccination “Could Be” a Political Belief Under the Code

    September 14, 2021

    On September 10, 2021, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal issued a screening decision dismissing a class complaint of discrimination in employment on the basis of political belief.

    In Complainant obo Class of Persons v. John Horgan, 2021 BCHRT 120, the Tribunal exercised its discretion to dismiss the complaint at the initial screening stage, finding that the facts alleged did not amount to a contravention of the BC Human Rights Code (“Code”).

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