Amid shipping cancellations and repealed federal vaccination policies, BC Ferries says it is working to rehire hundreds of unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave.
Last week, the federal government announced that effective June 20, vaccination requirements for domestic and international travel would be suspended, including for federal government employees and federally regulated transportation sectors.
“That last segment applies to us at BC Ferries,” spokeswoman Deborah Marshall told Victoria Buzz, noting that, as a result, the company was able to suspend its vaccination policy on Monday.
“This measure will support Canada’s transportation system as we recover from the pandemic,” Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement. statement.
BC Ferries currently has about 150 employees on unpaid leave due to the policy, and according to Marshall, management is contacting them to verify their intention to return.
BC Ferries’ vaccination policy came into effect in January. Since then, the company has been plagued with sailing cancellations and overhauls with “crew challenges” to blame.
Ferry enthusiasts were warned in march delays and altered sailing times are to be expected this summer due to staff vaccination policies, problems recruiting international candidates and a lack of professional seafarers.
“We require a specific number of crew on board the vessel to ensure the safety of our passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency and to comply with Transport Canada regulations,” a recent notice said. on duty.
Last week BC Ferries announced cancellations ahead of and over the weekend on the Queen of New Westminster, which sails from Sidney’s Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen and back.
The federal government adds that it will make adjustments based on the latest public health advice, which means that utility and transport vaccination mandates could return this fall.