Christine Sorensen, who lives in Kamloops, has stepped down as president of the BC Nurses’ Union.
In a terse statement on its website, the BCNU said Sorensen had resigned for personal reasons and to pursue other opportunities.
The union statement thanked Sorensen for her years of dedication and service to the BCNU.
Sorensen’s resignation comes less than a week after the provincial government extended its health order to require all health-care workers — not only those working in seniors’ care homes — to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In August, the BC Nurses’ Union issued a statement that it does not support making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for those working in health-care facilities in B.C.
“BCNU strongly encourages nurses, other health-care workers and the general public to be vaccinated against communicable diseases as a preventive measure and in accordance with the most recent scientific evidence,” the statement reads.
“Vaccination provides an important layer of protection against many communicable diseases and BCNU believes that education is the most appropriate means of achieving high vaccination rates for nurses, other health-care workers and the general public.
“Like any medical treatment or procedure, each individual must have the opportunity to inform themselves of the potential risks and benefits of immunization, based on their understanding of the evidence and in discussion with their family physician or other care provider.
The union added that evidence shows punitive or coercive vaccination policies in workplaces can unintentionally heighten vaccine hesitancy.
Sorensen graduated from the UBC School of Nursing in 1989 and spent her first day of work on the picket line at Royal Inland Hospital, where she worked in obstetrics/gynecology. She began working as a public health nurse in Clearwater in 1990 and was involved in the community nursing strike of 1993.
Sorensen was elected vice-president of the union in 2012, 2014 and 2017 and later served as acting president before being appointed president in 2018. In 2020, she was acclaimed president.