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TransLink drops COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers

A Skytrain crosses over the Fraser River past snow-capped mountains in the distance, in New Westminster, B.C., on Tuesday, December 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Metro Vancouver’s regional transit and transportation agency has dropped its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for workers, effective Thursday.

The policy, which was implemented last year, had required all TransLink employees to have two doses of the vaccine by Nov. 29, 2021.

Read more: All TransLink employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 29

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TransLink confirmed the policy change Thursday by email.

“As federal and provincial restrictions continue to ease, we believe suspending our policy at this time is the right decision,” spokesperson Dan Mountain said.

“We will continue to closely monitor the guidance of the provincial health office as well as the impacts of COVID-19 with regular, ongoing reviews of policies and practices that are in place. If a need arises to reinstate a policy, we’ll explore that.”

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The transit authority said the change follows similar moves by the federal and local municipal governments, BC Ferries, BC Hydro, ICBC and others.

Read more: BC Ferries suspends mandatory vaccination policy as staffing crunch cancels sailings

Read next: U.S. FDA advisors back bivalent COVID vaccine for initial series, boosters

TransLink’s board held its quarterly meeting on Thursday, but the change in vaccination policy was not raised during proceedings.

The agency said that the revised policy was not included in reports to the board because it didn’t need board approval to implement.

The end of the vaccine mandate comes as TransLink is in the midst of a major recruiting blitz.

The agency said earlier this fall that it is looking to hire about 300 skilled workers for SkyTrain operations and maintenance immediately, with about 500 needed by 2028 when the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain line goes into service.

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