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‘My career with the city is ruined,’ unvaccinated City of P.G. employee says

An unvaccinated City of Prince George employee speaks out about impact the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate had on them.
Prince George City Hall 6
An unvaccinated City of Prince George employee who has been on unpaid leave since Jan. 14, 2022 says the city's vaccine mandate has affected their life profoundly.

The decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, in defiance of public health advice and the city’s Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Program, has had significant negative impacts for one City of Prince George employee.

The employee, who the Citizen has agreed not to identify, has been on an unpaid leave from the city since Jan. 14, 2022. Their job was posted and filled following a March 14, 2022 deadline and they face termination on Jan. 15 this year, unless the City of Prince George announces a change in policy. In an interview on Thursday, Mayor Simon Yu said an announcement will be coming on that issue. Yu said there are 16 unvaccinated city employees remaining on unpaid leave.

The employee said the loss of their job has affected them financially, emotionally and mentally.

“My career with the city is ruined. One full year of lost wages, missed opportunities with job promotions,” the employee said. “Take your pick, how can a person really measure the impact that this heinous act has had?”

The employee said the loss of their health benefits means they can’t afford to pay for needed dental work for members of their family, and their credit score has been ruined.

As of Friday morning, the employee had not had any communication from the city or their union about the upcoming Jan. 15 deadline for unvaccinated workers.

“I have received a phone call from the union asking what my email address is. They wanted to know how I was affected by the policy and if I wanted my job back,” the employee said. “The city had the audacity to send a mental health pamphlet at Christmas time.”

City council candidate Paul Serup was the only person to reach out to them about how they were handling the situation, the employee said.

“The mayor nor a single city councillor has not reached out to ask a single question from me.  Don’t you think they should be communicating with the very people who are being affected?” the employee said. “Clearly the wrong council was voted in.”

The employee said the entire blame for their situation lies with the city’s senior administration.

“If the city manager was the one responsible for implementing this policy, he should be immediately fired with no severance package,” the employee said. “Same with the HR team, everyone should lose their jobs at the minimum.”

On Friday at 5 p.m., the City of Prince George announced it had suspended its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement for city employees and contractors.