VANCOUVER: The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) has filed a notice of appeal in the legal challenge to the British Columbia government’s vaccine passport regime. The CCF brought the legal challenge along with three individuals who could not be vaccinated because of medical conditions, including adverse reactions to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We believe that there were errors in the lower court decision. Most significantly, there was an error in the finding that the three women who brought this case could have applied for a reconsideration for an exemption from the vaccine passport system, making their court challenge premature. On the face of the Provincial Health Officer’s (PHO’s) orders and their mandatory forms, these women were ineligible to apply,” said CCF Litigation Director Christine Van Geyn. “The government cannot save a bad and unconstitutional law or order by secretly not applying it in practice, as the government argued it had done. By accepting the government’s argument and declining to even consider the constitutional issues, the lower court decision sets a dangerous precedent which undermines the rule of law and the principle that the Charter is the supreme law of Canada.”
The BC vaccine passport policy restricted entry to certain public spaces to only those people who could prove they have received two doses of a COVID vaccine. While the vaccine passport policy is not currently in force, the PHO announced that it may return during the fall and winter respiratory virus season.
The three individual petitioners in this case continue to be part of the appeal along side the CCF. They include:
- A teenage girl who developed heart inflammation after her first dose of a COVID vaccine. She is ineligible for a second dose. Her ineligibility for an exemption excluded her from craft fairs, taking a first aid class, and at the peak of Omicron restrictions prevented her from seeing friends either in restaurants, or even in private homes.
- A woman who developed nerve damage following her first dose of a COVID vaccine, leaving her arm partially paralyzed. She became pregnant, and her neurologist advised her not to get a second dose, due to the risk of further nerve damage, including damage that could impact her unborn baby. Her ineligibility for an exemption excluded her from work socials and weddings, forced her to spend Christmas home alone, and excluded her from Mom and baby swim classes with her newborn.
- A woman who has complex and overlapping disabilities, has undergone approximately 15 surgeries, and who is contraindicated for numerous medications. Due to her complex medical situation and the lack of information about how the COVID vaccine may interact in the body of a person with her unique set of disabilities, and her past drug reactions, she is at heightened risk of a serious reaction to the vaccine. Her ineligibility for an exemption caused her to lose access not only to all manner of social contact, but also to essential physical therapy at her local public pool.
“We want to thank the three individuals who are participating in the case and the appeal for their courage and commitment to the principles of freedom, equality and the rule of law,” continued Van Geyn. “They are an integral part of this case, and they are doing a service for all Canadians who were negatively effected by vaccine passports.”
The CCF is represented in this case by BC lawyer Geoffrey Trotter. Members of the public interested in supporting the legal fees in this appeal can make a tax deductible charitable donation on the CCF’s website here: theccf.ca/donate/