Coaches for youth sports in B.C. will now have to be vaccinated, along with other adults involved in delivering youth programs.
Any adult supervising or assisting with programs for youth must be fully vaccinated under an expanded public health order on events and gatherings. The order applies to all programs indoors or outdoors.
The province is expected to give further details next Tuesday, (Nov. 2), however, the change was quietly included in the Oct. 25 public health order.
Activities include a range of structured programs from education to music, art, drama, dance, recreation, sport, exercise or social activities for anyone under the age of 22.
B.C. health minister Adrian Dix said on Thursday that the order was designed to protect children who participate in organized programs.
“This isn’t about enforcement or punishing anyone, it’s about ensuring the safety of the activity, and that’s why the provincial health officer has taken this decision.”
It remains unclear how the province will enforce the vaccine mandate, as the province is not the employer in this case. Enforcement would likely fall to the community centres and organizations, although many coaches in youth sports serve on a voluntary basis. It is also unclear how organizations will go about confirming vaccination status.
As of Oct. 28, 89.8 per cent of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of vaccine and 84.9 per cent have received their second dose.
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