RCMP union concerned over enforcement of upcoming B.C. COVID-19 vaccine card
September 1, 2021 By Canadian Press
Aug. 31, 2021 – The national union representing RCMP officers says it’s concerned about recent statements by British Columbia’s premier regarding police enforcement of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine card system set to take effect Sept. 13.
In response to B.C. businesses expressing concern for staff who may encounter would-be patrons who refuse to show the requisite proof of immunization, Premier John Horgan said recently they could call law enforcement to handle the situation.
But Brian Sauve, president of the National Police Federation, says Mounties in B.C. are being called on to do more and more, and they cannot continue to effectively respond to rising calls without additional officers, resources and funding.
He said in a statement that more than 650 members of the provincial RCMP have been deployed in response to wildfires, pulling them away from day-to-day roles.
Sauve said others have been involved in the ongoing enforcement of a court injunction against old-growth logging protests on southern Vancouver Island.
Health Minister Adrian Dix acknowledged on Monday that there may be some difficulties in enforcement of the new rules, but added they are enforced in B.C. by public health agencies and police are called when disturbances take place.
He said enforcement of the rules gives freedom to businesses and communities to begin rebuilding the economy and start living as normally as possible.
The step to enforce a vaccine card was taken in consultation with business owners, Dix told a news conference.
“Yes, there are going to be issues around enforcement,” he added.
“There is always the uncertainty around something that was never in place before and is now going to be in place.”
The province’s COVID-19 vaccine card program is set to launch in two weeks, starting with proof of at least one dose by Sept. 13 and two doses by Oct. 24 in order for people to access a range of indoor social and recreational events.
Sauve said it’s “critically important that government properly fund both local and provincial policing to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of British Columbians.”
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