Posts Tagged "burnaby"

21Oct

COVID-19 update for Oct. 21: Canada to unveil vaccine passport plans Thursday | 696 new cases, six deaths | Outbreak declared at Burnaby assisted living facility | Abbotsford mom confused by ‘mixed messages’ from contact tracers

by admin

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C.

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Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Oct. 21, 2021.

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We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news delivered to your inbox weeknights at 7 p.m. by subscribing to our newsletter here.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on Oct. 20:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 199,534 (4,888 active)
• New cases since Oct. 19: 696
• Total deaths: 2,092 (six additional deaths)
• Hospitalized cases: 370
• Intensive care: 139
• Total vaccinations: 4,138,787 received first dose; 3,876,579 second doses
• Recovered from acute infection: 192,189
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 24

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IN-DEPTH:   Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus in 2021 | in 2020


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: B.C.’s vaccine passport is here and this is how it works

COVID-19: Here’s how to get your vaccination shot in B.C.

COVID-19: Look up your neighbourhood in our interactive map of case and vaccination rates in B.C.

COVID-19: Afraid of needles? Here’s how to overcome your fear and get vaccinated

COVID-19: Five things to know about the P1 variant spreading in B.C.

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

Canada to unveil vaccine passport plans Thursday: Source

Canada will unveil plans on Thursday for a vaccine passport, a government source said on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laying out how the proof-of-vaccination method will be implemented.

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Trudeau is slated to speak to reporters in Ottawa at 10 a.m. following a technical briefing by officials from several government departments including immigration, public health, transportation and the Canada Border Services Agency.

As COVID-19 vaccination rates rise and travel resumes, countries including Canada have begun requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of travel. For Canadians, that has so far meant receipts or QR codes that differ from province to province.

Canada recently reopened its borders to international travellers bearing proof of vaccination, and previously waived quarantine requirements for returning Canadian travellers who showed they were immunized.

-Reuters

Daily number of new COVID-19 cases ticks up slightly

There were six COVID-19 related deaths and 696 new cases reported in B.C. Wednesday. There are 4,888 active case of which 370 are being treated in hospital including 139 in intensive care.

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The seven-day average daily case count is dropping slowly, while active cases and hospitalizations remain relatively stable.

So far, 83.6 per cent of all British Columbians aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated and 89.3 per cent of those over 12 have received their first dose.

Outbreak declared at Burnaby assisted living facility

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the Swedish Assisted Living Residence in Burnaby. Two residents and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Both residents and the staff member are in self-isolation at their homes, according to the health authority.

In a statement, Fraser Health wrote that it has worked with the site to support the implementation of enhanced control measures and to identify anyone who may have been exposed.

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A total of 24 health facilities in B.C. are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Hope restaurant closes its doors as Fraser Health seeks injunction

A Hope restaurant that has been flouting COVID-19 health regulations for more than a month was closed on Wednesday, but it’s not clear for how long.

Rolly’s Restaurant closed two days after the Fraser Health Authority filed a court application seeking an injunction to close if for its failure to check on the vaccination status of patrons. The restaurant had also had its business licence suspended.

“Up until today, Rolly’s Restaurant has been continuing to operate despite the fact that their business licence has been suspended,” Donna Bellingham, the District of Hope’s director of corporate services, said in an email Wednesday.

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“Today they did not open, but we have not received any notification from them to indicate that this is a closure that will continue. With that said, bylaw enforcement will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis.”

The owners of the restaurant could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

-Keith Fraser

Abbotsford mom confused by ‘mixed messages’ from contact tracers

After two of her four kids tested positive for COVID-19, Marie Haak divided her living room with painter’s tape and worried about whether she should go back to work.

Because she is fully vaccinated, the Abbotsford educational assistant was given the all-clear to return to her students by the first contact tracer she spoke to last week.

But a second contact tracer, who called after another one of her children tested positive, was more hesitant and advised her to call 811, the provincial health advice hotline, to discuss it further.

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Haak said she struggled with the decision as she and her husband pulled apart their dining table to make two eating areas, posted signs reminding their kids to mask up in the hallway, and used green tape to separate their living room into zones.

“In the end, it was basically my own choice,” she said Tuesday. “There’s a lot of our world right now that seems inconsistent, and if you’re getting mixed messages from health authorities, it can be very overwhelming.”

As COVID-19 cases among children aged 5 to 11 jumped with the start of school , more parents have been forced to navigate pandemic-related challenges, from having a sick kid to isolating them after an exposure. But some say their experience with Fraser Health has left them confused.

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Read more HERE.

-Glenda Luymes


B.C. MAP OF WEEKLY COVID CASE COUNTS, VACCINATION RATES

Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:


B.C. VACCINE TRACKER



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press

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16Oct

COVID-19 update for Oct. 16-17: 667 new cases, 13 deaths | Deadly outbreak at Burnaby care home shows booster shots needed sooner | U.S. will accept mixed doses of vaccines from international travelers

by admin

Read more HERE .

— Gordon Hoekstra

Health professionals in private practice face vaccine order

B.C. doctors, dentists and other health professionals in private practice will soon be required to get vaccinated.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, issued an order Friday putting unvaccinated health professionals on notice that they would be required to be vaccinated in order to see patients or provide care or services in B.C.

The notice was directed at health professionals not covered by previous orders, including those who work in private practice and do not have privileges at a hospital or health-care facility. Henry’s order did not set a deadline.

COVID-19 vaccinations are already mandatory for staff at long-term care homes and assisted living facilities. Anyone who works in a health-care facility, including hospitals, will be required to be fully immunized by Oct. 26.

Read more HERE .

 — Cheryl Chan

667 new cases of COVID-19, 13 deaths

B.C. reported 667 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, for a total of 196,433 cases in the province.

There are 5,128 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 188,851 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the active cases, 367 individuals are in hospital and 152 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Getting answers on which B.C. schools still need ventilation updates proving frustrating

About 50 schools across B.C. are scheduled for upgrades to their ventilation systems during this academic year, so that the air in these crowded buildings is safer for kids and teachers during the pandemic.

These improvements, funded through the Education Ministry’s capital budget, are in addition to the 84 schools that had HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system updates in the 2020-21 academic year.

The province, however, has nearly 1,600 public schools. So once these projects are completed at these 125 or so schools over the two years since COVID arrived, how many of the remaining schools still need this type of work?

Finding an answer to this question was impossible because there is no centralized list. The ministry has left it up to each of B.C.’s 60 school boards to decide which buildings need ventilation upgrades and how those improvements should be achieved. The ministry has also left communication about these plans with the districts, and as a result many parents and teachers were left frustrated about a lack of clear answers.

Read more HERE.

-Lori Culbert

U.S. will accept mixed doses of vaccines from international travelers

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said late on Friday that it will accept mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines from international travelers, a boost to travelers from Canada and other places.

The CDC said last week that it would accept any vaccine authorized for use by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization.

“While CDC has not recommended mixing types of vaccine in a primary series, we recognize that this is increasingly common in other countries so should be accepted for the interpretation of vaccine records,” a CDC spokeswoman said.

The White House said Friday the new vaccine requirements for foreign nationals traveling to the United States will begin Nov. 8 for visitors crossing at land borders as well as international air travelers.

-Reuters

Find out how your neighbourhood is doing in the battle against COVID-19 with the latest number of new cases, positivity rates, and vaccination rates:

15Oct

COVID-19 update for Oct. 15: New ‘circuit-breaker’ restrictions introduced in northern B.C. | 10 deaths feared in outbreak at Burnaby care home | 580 new cases, nine deaths | B.C.’s vaccine cards hit with constitutional challenge

by admin

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new measures are meant to stop transmission and save lives. The new rules covers the entire health region, except for areas including Terrace and Kitimat that had high rates of vaccination, effective Oct. 15 until Nov. 19.

  • Personal gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, will be restricted to fully vaccinated people only.
  • Indoor personal gatherings are limited to five vaccinated people, while outdoor personal gatherings are limited to 25.
  • All indoor and outdoor organized events, such as weddings and parties, will require a COVID-19 safety plan and masks. Guests also have to be fully vaccinated. These indoor organized events are capped at 50, while outdoor events are capped at 100.
  • In-person worship services are closed, and will be limited to virtual services only

On Wednesday, the province reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Health Region and three deaths. There are 689 active cases in the region of about 300,000 people, which is only 32 fewer than currently active in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, a region that serves 1.25 million people.

10 deaths feared in outbreak at Burnaby care home

A COVID-19 outbreak at a Burnaby long-term care facility includes 90 cases and a death toll that’s expected to rise.

Out of the 90 infections at the Willingdon Care Centre in Burnaby, 69 are among residents in the 95-bed facility, while 21 cases involve staff, according to the most recent data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Three residents have died. On Thursday, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said due to a delay in reporting, he expects the number of deaths to rise to 10 in the coming days.

Dix said there has been a number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities, particularly in Interior Health, but the outbreak at Willingdon Care Centre is “by a significant margin, our most significant outbreak.”

Fraser Health declared an outbreak at the care home just over two weeks ago, on Sept. 28, when one resident tested positive. By Oct. 5, 39 residents and six staff have contracted the virus.

-Cheryl Chan

B.C.’s vaccine cards hit with constitutional challenge

In what may be a first for B.C., two women with physical disabilities have filed a constitutional challenge to the provincial government’s COVID-19 vaccine cards.

But a former B.C. attorney-general asked to comment on the case cautioned that Charter rights are not absolute and the government would likely argue that any infringement of the petitioners’ rights would be justified to prevent further harm caused by the pandemic.

The B.C. Supreme Court petition filed by Sarah Webb and Leigh Anne Eliason seeks a number of court orders including an injunction staying the legal effect or enforcement of the vaccine card orders.

Webb, a 39-year-old mother of two who lives and works in both Victoria and Calgary, says she got her first COVID-19 vaccine shot on May 2 but developed a reaction that included fatigue, cramping, heart arrhythmia and severe pain.

Read more HERE.

-Keith Fraser

B.C. ski resorts scramble to recruit winter workforce thinned out by COVID travel restrictions

Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna saw a surprising flurry of job applicants following the Thanksgiving long weekend to fill some of the 650 positions it’s trying to fill for the upcoming ski season, not that it takes any pressure off senior vice-president Michael Ballingall.

In a normal year, Big White would get five to six applicants for every position it offers, this year, deep in B.C.’s fourth wave of COVID-19, “we don’t have one-to-one,” Ballingall said, which is currently typical across a lot of ski resorts in the province.

Skiing proved to be a popular outdoor outlet for a lot of British Columbians during the first waves of the pandemic, which has resorts banking on another solid season.

Recruiting, however, remains a challenge as earlier COVID-related travel restrictions still make it difficult to secure the usual pool of snow-seeking foreign visitors that resorts traditionally relied on to fill out their workforce, and resorts compete with all other hospitality businesses to hire from an increasingly thin local labour pool.

Read more HERE.

-Derrick Penner

8Sep

Allow vaccine passport exemptions or face legal challenge, group warns B.C. government

by admin

VANCOUVER —
A Calgary-based legal foundation has threatened to take the B.C. government to court if officials refuse to allow medical and religious exemptions to the province’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation, which previously supported a failed legal challenge of the province’s public health-care system, announced this week that it’s preparing litigation on behalf of individuals who will be temporarily excluded from non-essential activities such as dining in restaurants and going to the gym when the passport system takes effect later this month.

In an open letter sent to B.C. Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Attorney General David Eby on Tuesday, the group described the impact the system will have on unvaccinated individuals as “unwarranted and extreme.”

“The vaccine passport policy prevents people who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons or reasons of religion or conscience from participating in public life,” it reads. “A failure to create an exemption or accommodation for these individuals is a violation of their Section 15 Charter-protected right not to be discriminated against on the basis of disability or religion.”

The foundation, which is a registered charity in Canada and named as a partner of the U.S.-based Atlas Network, which supports hundreds of right-leaning think tanks around the world, also suggested the government should exempt everyone with a non-religious but “sincerely held” belief that prevents them from getting the vaccine.

It’s unclear how a passport system would function if those individuals were to exempted as well.

Christine Van Geyn, the group’s litigation director, told CTV News the foundation hasn’t decided what relief it will be seeking from the courts, and might request that the passport system be struck down entirely.

If the litigation does go forward, she said the CCF will likely be focusing on medical exemptions.

“Our preference is not to litigate. We would like to see the government make accommodations to people,” Van Geyn added, pointing to medical exemptions already being promised in other provinces. “If Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia can do it, why can’t B.C.?”

B.C. health officials have previously said there will be no exemptions to the proof-of-vaccination requirement, which is being phased in on Sept. 13 and expected to remain in place until the end of January. Officials hope that COVID-19 transmission, which surged over the summer as the highly contagious Delta variant spread across Canada, will be under control by then.

“This is a temporary measure that’s getting us through a risky period where we know people who are unvaccinated are at a greater risk, both of contracting and spreading this virus,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last month.

“Those rare people who have a medical reason why they can’t be immunized … they will not be able to attend those events during this period.”

While unveiling the details of the government’s plan on Tuesday, Henry stressed that grocery stores and essential services will remain available to everyone who hasn’t been vaccinated for any reason.

She also noted there will be some options for those who are temporarily impacted, such as ordering takeout from restaurants instead of dining in.

26Aug

B.C.’s vaccine passport will ‘ostracize’ people who can’t get the shot, says lawyer

by admin

VANCOUVER —
When the province announced B.C.’s new COVID-19 vaccine passport, Leigh Eliason was stunned.

“I’m sad. I’m sad for what this has become,” she said.

The 41-year-old Maple Ridge woman has complex health issues, including an autoimmune disease called neuro vestibular dysfunction. At its worst, she says, the illness left her bedridden for more than a year.

She’s doing much better now but says with no vaccine studies on people with her condition, she’s worried getting the COVID-19 shot could trigger severe symptoms.

“I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I’m pro-body autonomy and my choice for myself is I’m not comfortable,” she said.

Beginning Sept. 13, proof of vaccination will be required to go to restaurants, gyms, concerts and other ticketed events. There are no exceptions.

“These new measures will help reduce transmission and keep our communities safer,” Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer said on Monday.

But for Eliason, the changes mean she won’t be able to watch her daughter on stage.

“I’m devastated I’m going to miss seeing my daughter perform,” she said.

Human rights lawyers say they are hearing from many people who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons.

“The people that we’re hearing from at the Human Rights Clinic are people with allergies to components of the vaccine, maybe people who received a first dose and had a reaction to the shot and have been advised by their doctor not to get the second shot,” says Vancouver lawyer Laura Track.

Track says she expects the passport mandate to be challenged in court.

“Our human rights laws in Canada protect people from discrimination on the basis of both disability and religious grounds,” she said.

Her concerns are echoed by lawyer Christine Van Geyn of the Canadian Constitution Foundation.

“People who wish they could be vaccinated but can’t be are now sort of ostracized from society and I think that poses a very big constitutional problem,” Van Geyn said.

“There are reasons people can’t be vaccinated. They are rare but in a province the size of British Columbia, that amounts to a lot of people,” she explained.

Van Geyn says the province needs to create accommodations in the vaccine passport program for people who can’t be vaccinated because of a disability.

Eliason also hopes health officials will make exemptions.

“We’re losing empathy for one another. Everybody’s so angry,” said Eliason. “It’s going to cause a lot of division where we already have so much division.”

She says her daughters are both vaccinated but understand their mom’s decision.

25Aug

‘Significant’ increase in vaccine registrations and bookings over past 2 days: province

by admin

VANCOUVER —
The B.C. government says there has been a significant increase in vaccine registrations and bookings for first doses over the past two days, especially among those under age 40.

The surge comes the same week B.C.’s vaccine card program was announced. The program is set to take effect next month.

The government said proof of vaccination will be required for access to a variety of non-essential activities and events, including restaurant dining; going to a movie theatre, casino, or nightclub; working out at a gym or fitness centre; and attending indoor ticketed sporting events and concerts, as well as organized indoor weddings, parties, conferences, meetings, and workshops.

Proof of a first vaccine dose will be required by Sept. 13, and proof of full vaccination (seven days after the second dose) will be required by Oct. 24.

The province announced the program Monday, and said over the past two days, 12,904 people under 40 years old have registered for a vaccine, compared to 4,161 during the same period last week.

On Monday, there were 8,909 new registrations, a 174.8 per cent jump over last Monday.

The day following the vaccine card announcement, there were 10,175 new registrations, a 201.3 per cent increase over last Tuesday.

SFU health sciences professor Scott Lear said a similar response has been seen in other jurisdictions that have implemented vaccine passport systems.

“Probably earliest on in France, when they implemented it country-wide,” he said. “They saw their uptake in vaccination, first shots go up in the millions.”

He noted Quebec, which will also be introducing a vaccine passport next month, saw a jump as well.

“They reported after announcing it was going to go in place … that first shots doubled in the first 24 hours as compared to the 24 hours before,” he said. “The majority of people who aren’t vaccinated, they don’t hold strong vaccine-resistant views. A lot of them, it’s complacency and convenience.”

Lear said the vaccine card provides the type of “nudge” and a further incentive to get people vaccinated.

“We live in a society where we do have individual rights, but we also have rights of others,” he said. “And that’s kind of our social contract, in that yes, we can live a certain way, as long as it doesn’t infringe or harm others. And in this case, there’s a possibility of transmitting the virus. That’s a harm.”

Lear said it’s comparable to tobacco regulation, and wearing seatbelts.

“If someone’s smoking beside you, there’s a potential harm to you inhaling that smoke,” he said. “We do at times have to put limits to certain behaviours so that the greater population can function and be safe.”

He said he’d also like to see the proof of vaccination requirement extended to post-secondary classrooms. Right now, it will apply to student housing and other on-campus locations such as gyms and pubs.

“I’ve heard the public health officer say that vaccines shouldn’t stand in the way of education, and that tried to make it an equity type of argument,” he said. “Unless the province is not distributing vaccines to everybody, there’s no equity argument.”

He added there already are other barriers to higher education, including financing and accessibility.

VACCINE CARD FOR TRAVELLERS

The vaccine proof requirement will also apply to tourists visiting B.C. According to the province, those from within Canada must supply a vaccine record that’s “officially recognized” by their home province or territory, along with government ID. International visitors can display the proof they used to enter Canada, and their passport.

Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia chair Vivek Sharma said the group has been advocating for some kind of proof that people can produce for easing travel.

“So we’re completely behind this,” he said. “I think it’s the right thing to do.”

However, because not every province has a vaccine passport system, there are still questions about the different kinds of documentation.

“Clarity around how our inter-provincial guests will produce the proof, that’s the clarity that I think more businesses are looking for sooner than later,” Sharma said. “Yes, there’ll be some pinch points and some learning curves around it, but it’s a short-term pain for long-term gain.”

The province will be creating a website and a call centre so people can get their cards before Sept. 13.  

23Aug

No jab, no job? Experts weigh in on legality of vaccine mandates at private companies

by admin

VANCOUVER —
Once it was announced that vaccines will be mandatory for federal government employees, other levels of government and companies in the public and private sector followed suit.

Earlier this month, B.C. decided to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for workers in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities.

Canada’s largest banks said last week that they will also require employees working in their offices to be fully vaccinated.

Porter Airlines and financial conglomerate Sun Life made similar moves as well. Numerous municipal governments, universities and public services such as the Toronto Transit Commission have announced vaccine mandates in recent days.

But do employers have the right to impose such mandates? What if the employee is unwilling or unable to get vaccinated?

Employment lawyer Jon Pinkus told CTV News that until the federal or provincial government passes a law, many employers will likely be dealing with a high volume of disputes from employees.

“Employers are not obligated by law to have their employees vaccinated,” said Pinkus, a partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

“I would have thought there would have been laws passed by now. We are seeing some signals from the federal government and some companies that it will be mandatory, but we haven’t seen a law requiring vaccinations,” he added.

Pinkus said refusing a vaccine is unlikely to be cause for termination. If it gets to that point, it will be a risky move for businesses.

“There is certainly going to be a wrongful dismissal liability if they don’t pay severance, and there is also going to be some human rights exposure for doing that,” said Pinkus.

“Mandatory vaccinations sound really simple. It sounds like no jab, no job. Unfortunately, it’s not really that simple. It’s something employers will have to consider very carefully before rolling it out,” said Sara Forte with Forte Law.

Most larger companies that have it made vaccinations mandatory like Canada’s big banks have only made it a requirement for those returning to the office.

Forte said B.C.’s Human Rights Code would protect anyone who is physically unable to get immunized due to medical reason or religious beliefs.

“Our Human Rights Code here in B.C., which is what regulates most employers and employees in B.C., protects people on disability and people’s religious beliefs so that is already in place,” Forte explained.

“If you were to fire someone who was unable to get vaccinated, you’re looking at a human rights issue and that employee could take the case to the Human Rights Tribunal,” said Forte.

Employees who are unable to get the vaccine should have a right to accommodation, added Pinkus.

“It’s going to be very difficult for an employer to say, well we can’t have you work from home, even though you’ve been doing this for the last 18 months,” said Pinkus.

Human resources expert Debby Carreau said those types of accommodations such as continuing to work from home or rapid testing should be discussed with your employer.

“Instead of assuming the worst and having a conflict with your employer, try to have a conversation,” said Carreau.

“Help them understand the barriers that you’re facing. It may not be you not wanting to get vaccinated, there may be some real implications for you.”

As more companies implement vaccine mandates, HR and legal experts are advising businesses to closely watch for any changes and like all things in this pandemic, be prepared to pivot.

20Aug

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal dismisses complaint from woman denied service for not wearing a mask

by admin

VANCOUVER —
B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint from a woman who argued that a jewelry store discriminated against her by refusing to serve her when she declined to put on a face mask.

The complainant, Shera Rael, was refused service at Cartwright Jewelers in New Westminster on July 31, 2020, according to the decision issued Thursday by tribunal member Paul Singh.

In the decision, Singh writes that he had limited information on the complaint because Rael did not respond to the store’s application to dismiss it and “provided only minimal information in her complaint form.” 

On the form, Rael claimed she has a disability, which she described as “breathing issues and cannot wear a mask,” according to Singh’s decision.

Asked on the form how the alleged discrimination related to her disability, Rael wrote: “My human rights were denied. Mask wearing is not a law.”

In response to the complaint, the jewelry store’s owner Susan Cartwright-Coates acknowledged denying service to Rael, saying the store had implemented a mandatory mask policy to comply with public health orders and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The respondents acknowledge that people with disabilities have the right to be accommodated, which may mean exempting them from the requirement to wear a mask or finding other ways to accommodate their disability‐related needs,” Singh writes in his decision. “However, they say that Ms. Rael at no time advised them that she had a disability or otherwise needed accommodation.”

B.C.’s Human Rights Code requires the complainant to demonstrate “alleged facts” that, if proven to be true, could constitute discrimination under the code, according to Singh’s decision.

The tribunal member concluded that Rael’s complaint does not meet this test because she did not provide enough information on the nature of her alleged disability or the harm that came from the alleged discrimination.

“Any claim of disability discrimination arising from a requirement to wear a mask must begin by the complainant establishing they have a disability and explaining why it interferes with their ability to wear the mask,” Singh writes. “Ms. Rael’s mere assertion of ‘breathing issues,’ without more, is insufficient to establish a disability under the Code.”

Singh adds that, without telling the store that her reason for declining to wear a mask was disability-related, Rael couldn’t reasonably claim that the store should have accommodated her.

“While complainants are not required, for valid privacy reasons, to divulge detailed particulars of their disability when seeking accommodation, they should, at a minimum, inform a service provider that they require some form of disability‐related accommodation to trigger a service provider’s duty to accommodate,” Singh writes. 

17Aug

Vancouver’s airport ranked best in North America by customer surveys

by admin

VANCOUVER —
The Vancouver International Airport has been ranked as the best airport in North America.

The 2021 World Airport Award ranking, by Skytrax, came thanks to customer survey ratings.

The awards “are regarded as a quality benchmark for the world airport industry, assessing customer service and facilities,” according to the Skytrax website.

Surveys were completed by those using the airport between August 2020 and July 2021.

YVR was also awarded a COVID-19 distinction award, along with several other airports.

“The survey evaluates traveller experiences across different … performance indicators – from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration through to departure at the gate,” continues the SkyTrax award details page.

The survey included questions about ease of transit to the terminal, security wait times, luggage cart and taxi availability, staff friendliness, lounge availability and more.

This year’s survey also included questions related to COVID-19. Specifically, it asked about COVID-19 signage, enforcement of face masks, availability of hand sanitizer, enforcement of social distancing, and washroom cleanliness, among others.

Airports do not pay to be involved in the evaluation or award process, according to Skytrax, which first started giving out the awards in 1999. 

6Aug

Surrey park facilities among runners-up in Canada-wide contest for best bathroom

by admin

VANCOUVER —
It didn’t place first, but a Surrey, B.C., restroom was among the top five in Canada in an annual contest.

Users of public loos were asked to nominate the best places to “go” in their hometowns, and a design made for City of Surrey parks was among the nominees that made the short list.

The design, which was described in a news release by contest organizer Cintas Canada, Ltd., as playful, durable and safe, was one of five options for voters across Canada.

“The washroom was designed to be universally accessible, hands-free with no-touch fixtures and configured for solar power,” Cintas, a provider of services and products that include restroom supplies, wrote in a news release in June.

“It also features public art panels on all four sides of the structure. The design employs a distinct form, strong colours and unique use of materials.”

But the Surrey park design lost to Borden Park in Edmonton. The winning facilities feature wood, glass and concrete, and have hands-free elements meant to reduce the spread of germs.

Others in the top five this year were: Sweet Market Esso Station in Red Deer, Alta.; the Toronto Zoo; and The Rooftop in Calgary.

B.C. bathrooms have often made the shortlist in the contest, including in 2019 when Vancouver’s Laurence and Chico Café and Bauhaus Restaurant were on the list.

Also in Vancouver, Anh and Chi was in the top five in 2018.

The Vancouver International Airport bathrooms made the list in 2014, and the year before that, Vancouver’s Steamworks Brew Pub and Richmond’s Chop Steakhouse were in the top five.

But a West Coast washroom has not held the top title since 2021, when Victoria’s Langley Street Loo resonated with voters.

The title was also claimed by the Byrne Road location of Cactus Club Café in Burnaby in 2010.

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