All provincial employees and those under Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate must have at least one dose of vaccine by Wednesday, November 30.
Those who are partially vaccinated may be subject to other health and safety measures, including testing, while those who have not received a first dose by the deadline will face employment consequences, including unpaid leave.
At this point, it’s unclear how many employees could be put on leave without pay when the mandate goes into effect.
“There seem to be concerns that we don’t know for sure whether or not it will impact staffing or not, but I think it actually points to a bigger problem. That is, we shouldn’t have a system that works. so bare that minor staff disruptions can be the source of such a threat, ”said Chris Parsons of the Nova Scotia Health Coalition.
Meena MacIsaac, CEO of Grand View Manor in Berwick, Nova Scotia, said like others in the long-term care industry, they were already under significant pressure ahead of the pandemic and the impending vaccination mandate.
“In the last three weeks we have had 19 resignations. Some of these would of course be due to the vaccination mandate,” MacIsaac said.
Staffing gaps mean employees are exhausted, according to MacIsaac. She said the root cause of staff shortages in long-term care must be addressed to turn the situation around, starting with compensation.
“Our CCAs are the heart of our long-term care staffing in the province and their salaries start at $ 17.50 per hour, and that’s for uncertified CCAs and in Nova Scotia. “MacIsaac said.” They can go for a job in retail or food service and earn just as much. “
MacIsaac said she was grateful to the designated staff and caregivers for all of their support during this time.
As of Nov. 23, 95 percent of long-term care workers were fully immunized and three percent were partially immunized, with 95 percent reporting.
Ninety-nine percent of IWK health center workers received a double dose last week and one percent were partially vaccinated, with 99 percent reporting.
Meanwhile, 97 percent of those in school were fully immunized and 2 percent had received an injection, 90 percent reporting.
Paul Wozney, president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, said it was not clear whether there would be an impact on operations if some employees were put on unpaid leave.
“It is impossible to know how many of that 1% of people are not vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons and how many could be put on unpaid medical leave. That’s less than 91 people in total who are not vaccinated and we know that there are definitely some people who are not vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons, ”Wozney said.