Extend Paid Vaccination Leave to Federally Regulated Workers

IBEW 213 is calling on the federal government to match B.C.’s three-hour paid time to get vaccinated. The B.C. Employment Standards Act does not apply to federally-regulated workers including telecommunications workers.

We've seen some long waits at vaccination clinics. Workers in B.C. are guaranteed three hours paid time to get their vaccination -- unless you're a federally-regulated worker. That needs to change!

“We represent hundreds of workers employed by companies such as Shaw Communications, Eastlink, City West Telephone and Cable as well as many other members who perform work on behalf of TELUS, Bell and Rogers Communications,” said Robin Nedila, IBEW 213 Assistant Business Manager. “These workers are federally regulated, and therefore are being told by their employers they are not covered by the update to the B.C. Employment Standards Act.”

Workers in the telecommunications sector have been on the frontlines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and their work is more vital than ever – keeping people and businesses connected in a time of physical distancing and remote working.

“Our members attend to homes, businesses, care homes, and other high-risk premises every day to service customers,” said Nedila. “These workers deserve the same protections as provincially regulated workers.”

On April 28, 2021, the B.C. government amended the Employment Standards Act to include three hours paid time off to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, retroactive to April 19, 2021.

“Guaranteeing paid leave for workers to get vaccinated is an important way to keep workers safe, while reducing risks to businesses,” said B.C.’s Minister of Labour Harry Bains. “Supporting workers to get their COVID-19 vaccine when it’s their turn will greatly benefit everyone.”

IBEW 213’s common-sense call on the federal government to provide the same vaccination leave to federally-regulated workers is garnering bipartisan support.

Liberal MP for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam Ron McKinnon voiced his support in a letter to the Federal Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi: “I believe it is in our government and everyone’s best interest to remove all barrier to a worker getting vaccinated to do so,” wrote MP McKinnon.

NDP MP for Vancouver Kingsway Don Davies voiced his support as well, writing, “this benefit should be immediately extended to workers in federally regulated sectors. No worker in Canada should lose pay if they need to take time off to get vaccinated.”