BC Government employing 1,400 tourism workers as "non-clinical" vaccine staff

James Dunn

The BC government is teaming up with the tourism and hospitality sectors in getting over 1,400 furloughed employees back on a payroll.

This time, they will be helping British Columbians get vaccinated.

Workers will be non clinical staff in vaccine clinics across the province.

Two clinics will be set up in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek.

A number of other pop up clinics are being created across the peace region in what is expected to be Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd, and Hudson's Hope.

The government says these workers will bring their skills to the logistical side and help funnel as many people through clinics as possible.

BC Premier John Horgan says this announcement is just one piece of the vaccine puzzle.

"We have a distance to go yet, but we are getting very close to the end. we've seen an absloutley unacceptable rise in cases." Horgan said.

The hard hit businesses that are helping out include airlines WestJet and Air Canada.

Dr. Penny Ballem, the executive lead of BC's immunization roll out says businesses in these sectors have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“Since day one of our immunization program, we have been committed to tapping into the knowledge and expertise of our community partners. It takes a whole village to help implement this immunization effort, and we are proud to work with business and industry leaders and community organizations in every sector, along with municipalities to get vaccines to people in B.C. quickly and efficiently.” Dr. Ballem said.

Premier Horgan says it will be up to the companies to decide who gets rehired, and the length of these partnerships seem to be long lasting.

"They stand ready to go until the last needle, the last jab. We're all in this together. We're all focused on getting the outcomes we all want which is a return to normal." Horgan said.

Premier Horgan also announced Wednesday the government will look into amending the Employment Standards Act to give British Columbians paid time off to get vaccinated.

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