Partnership to return up to 200 furloughed WestJetters to work
CALGARY, AB, March 24, 2021 /CNW/ – WestJet has partnered with the Government of British Columbia to return approximately 200 furloughed WestJetters to work to assist at mass vaccination clinics in Greater Vancouver. The first confirmed clinic begins March 29, 2021 at the University of British Columbia with Vancouver Coastal Health while planning is underway to open additional clinics in the coming weeks including the Guildford Recreation Centre in Surrey with Fraser Health.
“The caring experience that our people provide is not exclusive to travel; it’s a mindset that all WestJetters embody,” said Mark Porter, WestJet Executive Vice-President People and Culture. “With our operational experience in moving people through airports, WestJetters will help put people at ease and aid in ensuring clinics run smoothly. We are proud to partner with Premier Horgan, Minister Dix, Dr. Henry and Dr. Ballem to bring our people back to work on this critical initiative which will help protect our citizens and get our lives and economies moving again.”
“British Columbians have risen to many challenges during this past year, with people and businesses finding new and innovative ways to support each other,” said Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan. “People who work in the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sector have answered the call to help with B.C.’s immunization plan. This partnership will provide new jobs for people while contributing to B.C.’s already accelerated vaccine rollout.”
“After having my hours reduced during the pandemic, I was eager to put my hand up when WestJet called for us to assist in the rollout of Canada’s vaccination efforts,” said Baljinder Sandhu, WestJet Customer Service Agent in Vancouver and WestJet Care Team member. “Getting the opportunity to work at the clinic, alongside many of my colleagues who were furloughed, while seeing this life-changing vaccine being administered is a really special opportunity.”
While the care team will not be involved in the medical side of the operation, the team will be conducting arrivals greeting, check-in, data entry, and patient observation after receiving the shot. The clinics will run approximately 12-hours per day, through October 31, 2021 and are expected to vaccinate more than 200,000 eligible residents. Details on vaccine eligibility and location can be found at Gov.bc.ca/COVID.
“WestJet has been serving Vancouver for 25 years and assisting in getting the community vaccinated as quickly as possible aligns with our commitment to safety for our guests, our employees and the communities we serve,” continued Porter.
“Our immunization program is the largest and most complex in B.C.’s history, with multiple sectors, industries and professions working together to get people immunized as quickly as possible,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This partnership is another incredible example of what can be accomplished when we work together to protect our communities from COVID-19.”
“Since day one of our immunization program, we have been committed to tapping into the knowledge and expertise of our community partners,” said Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead, B.C.’s immunization plan rollout. “It takes a whole village to help implement this immunization effort and we are proud to be working with business and industry leaders and community organizations in every sector, along with municipalities to get vaccines to people in B.C. quickly and efficiently.
“People in B.C. have made incredible sacrifices to keep themselves, their loved ones, and their communities safe during this pandemic,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer. “Each of us have something unique to contribute in the fight against COVID-19, and our accelerating immunization program gives us reason to be hopeful about the months that lie ahead.”