Employees in B.C. long-term care, assisted living facilities must now have at least 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine

As of Monday, all employees of long-term care and assisted living facilities in B.C. are required to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The new measure comes into effect as B.C. launches its vaccine card system, under which patrons of non-essential businesses including restaurants and theatres will be required to show proof of vaccination to be allowed entry.

While workers in those businesses will only be required to have the shot or shots if their employer chooses to make it mandatory, those employed in long-term care or assisted living across the province must now have at least one of the shots.

For now, they're only required to have the first dose, but they'll need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 12 to continue working.

The B.C. Care Providers Association says it supports the new vaccine policy, but that the mandate is adding more pressure on the already-struggling health-care system. It says many workers are still refusing to get vaccinated.

"We are already faced with a labour shortage right across the sector. We know hundreds of employees across B.C. have indicated they do not intend to get vaccinated, and several of those people are talking about leaving their jobs and going to work in the hospitals where there is no requirement to be fully vaccinated," said Mike Klassen with the BCCPA.

Multiple COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care homes have been reported across province in the last month.