Over 1,000 Nova Scotia public sector workers on leave of absence for vaccination warrant

More than 1,000 public sector workers were forced to take time off this week as Nova Scotia’s mandatory vaccination policy took effect.

The mandate, which affects key sectors including healthcare and education, as well as the civil service, came into effect on December 1. The province released figures representing the impact as of December 2 on Friday afternoon.

The number of employees on leave for each sector is as follows:

  • 29 at the IWK Health Center.
  • 323 with Health Nova Scotia.
  • 179 in long-term care.
  • 96 in home care.
  • 6 in adult day programs.
  • 174 in education.
  • 2 in corrections.
  • 4 in emergency health services.
  • 91 in the Disability Support Program and the Child and Youth Care Program.
  • 0 in hearing and speech.
  • 59 in day care centers.
  • 93 in the provincial civil service.

An additional 1,923 people either did not report their immunization status or need to provide more information, but were already on leave for another reason. Twenty-four people obtained exemptions from the mandate.

More than 99 percent of the 80,971 public sector workers reported receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.

In a press release, Premier Tim Houston said he was “very proud” of Nova Scotians who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, especially in light of the new omicron variant.

“The few in the two terms who weren’t vaccinated have made their choice,” Houston said. “It’s unfortunate that they are no longer in the workplace, but I am happy that they do not endanger patients, students, the elderly and other vulnerable people.”

No impact on healthcare

Colin Stevenson, vice president of system quality and performance with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, said the existing workforce will be able to mitigate the effects of the loss of 323 employees.

“For Nova Scotians, when it comes to the care and services provided by Nova Scotia Health, they will not see the impact or change that we are excited about and will continue to somehow ensure that we can fulfill this. warrant, ”Stevenson said Friday.

A woman walks past the Halifax Infirmary in this file photo. A vice president of the Nova Scotia health authority said having 323 employees on leave due to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate would not affect services. (Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press)

Stevenson said employees on leave because of their immunization status are “reasonably divided” geographically and by occupation. About 60 percent of employees on leave from the health authority are frontline workers and 40 percent work in administration or support.

After 14 days off, employees will be invited to participate in a vaccine training course, Stevenson said.

If at this point they choose to be vaccinated, they will remain on discharge for up to two weeks after their second dose. If they choose not to or submit proof of vaccination, Stevenson said next steps will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Earlier this week province warned vaccine-related staff shortages could cause disruption school bus services in the Halifax area and that current staff shortages in long-term care may be exacerbated.

On the day the mandate went into effect, Barbara Adams, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care, has so far said the policy put little additional pressure on the sector.

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