Mandatory vaccination for health care workers
Seniors Action Yukon is a volunteer, non-profit organization that encourages older adults to speak out on public matters of concern.
We would like to commend the Government of Yukon for requiring health care workers and public servants to be vaccinated as a condition of employment.
This ably responds to the concerns we had earlier heard from some SAY members about the presence of unvaccinated health care workers in long-term care, home care and hospitals — a situation that puts already vulnerable people at risk.
With the recent rise of COVID cases here, including the highly contagious Delta variant, we support the government’s new measures that we hope will soon bring the pandemic to an end, both here and Outside.
On behalf of the Seniors Action Yukon Core Team
Dear Yukon News,
I am writing this in regards to the Health Ministers’ announcement from last week, mandating all front-line workers and YG employees to be vaccinated or lose their jobs as of November 30, 2021. This is not to argue about whether one should be vaccinated or not. In fact I am not against vaccines, I have a friend who would not be alive today if he had not had the COVID vaccine. The concern I am addressing is, the lack of free choice and the discrimination against their own personnel (Who should in fact have the freedom of personal choice for what goes into their body, for whatever reason, being for health or religious matters).
I am writing this as a front-line worker, one who has faithfully served over 20 years, who is concerned with how this mandate will affect our communities, and our territory as a whole. In my training and career, I have been taught not to discriminate against a person for their race, religion, health status, or even if they have a deadly contagious illness. We are taught to give everyone the same care no matter what. I have willingly put my health and life on the line to serve others. I have sat with COVID patients for hours knowing I was putting myself and my family at risk, yet this never gave me the right to discriminate against them because of their health status or to deny them service.
Now we are being told by YG that this type of discrimination is acceptable. Except now it is YG discriminating against the very ones who are on the front-line. This decision is going to cost them workers. In our community, this includes Home Care, Ambulance, Social Services, and other workers who have daily put their lives at risk for more than a year and a half now. These are the ones who serve faithfully, knowing they were risking their own health, safety, and well being. These are ones who have helped us during the most difficult of times. Our communities will not be the same without them.
Our EMS, health care, Social Services, and many other departments are short of help already and now we are losing willing capable people, due to a lack of freedom in what goes into their bodies. In my community alone, I personally know of at least eight YG workers in our community who will willingly give their jobs away because they refuse to allow YG to demand what they do to their personal bodies. These are the ones who care for all of the people they work with and do not take this step lightly, but they refuse to work under such mandates. How many other people are going to walk away from the workforce, waiting for YG to pick up the pieces? Have we thought about the effects this will have on our communities?
A concerned Yukoner
People across Canada just experienced another summer of record-breaking heat, destructive wildfires, and dystopic-looking smoke hanging over many of our communities. These impacts have elevated the urgency to tackle the climate crisis to a fever pitch. But, we all know the only way we can tackle the climate crisis with the zest needed to do so is if no workers or communities are left behind as we transition to greener, safer forms of energy.
Natural Resources Canada just finished its consultation for the long-awaited Just Transition Act — something you may have missed because of the whirlwind of the election. This is our chance to moves forward worker and community-centered Just Transition legislation.
Luckily, thousands of people across the country made submissions to this consultation process calling for a just transition act that follows three principles: 1) guarantees a good, green, unionized job to anyone who wants one; 2) puts people first - not massive corporations - by supporting workers and communities through the transition to 100% renewable energy; and 3) it’s in line with climate science and ensures a rapid transition off fossil fuels.
What the legislation actually looks like when it’s presented in the House of Commons will be the test as to whether or not Justin Trudeau and his government listened to our calls. It will be up to all of us — and our newly elected representatives — to ensure the biggest, boldest version of this legislation is passed.