Flu shots forced on health-care workers in B.C.

By Laura Cassiani
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

Health-care workers in British Columbia are being told to roll up their sleeves and take a flu shot in the arm or else be sent home without pay in the case of an outbreak.

The controversial influenza-fighting program was introduced last month by the Health Employers’Association of British Columbia (HEABC) in some hospitals and nursing homes in the hopes of curbing the spread of the flu. The concern is more acute in nursing homes, where flu outbreaks have been fatal.

The program raises the issue of the competing rights of employees versus those of the employer in the workplace. The balance is made even more difficult in this case because of the intrusive nature of the program, says John Sanderson, a Vancouver-based employment mediator and arbitrator and former employment lawyer.