CCF in court this week seeking declaration of rights violation in vaccine passport case

CCF in court this week seeking declaration of rights violation in vaccine passport case

TORONTO – The Canadian Constitution Foundation will be in court October 4, 5 and 6, 2023, in the appeal of their legal challenge to the British Columbia vaccine passports. The B.C. Court of Appeal is hearing the appeal in Kassian v British Columbia. The case was dismissed by the B.C. Supreme Court on the grounds that the court said the case was premature.

The CCF brought this case with two women and one girl, who were seeking good faith medical exemptions. Two of the petitioners working with the CCF had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to which they suffered severe adverse reactions, and the third had been disabled since birth, was extremely medically complex, had undergone 15 surgeries, and had a history of adverse drug reactions.

“The government has attempted to evade constitutional scrutiny of their vaccine passport regime by claiming that our applicants’ cases were premature. But the three women in this case were ineligible to even apply for a blanket medical exemption on the face of the law. The B.C. government used a ‘closed list’ system for exemptions. Only people with specific medical conditions were permitted to even apply for an exemption,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn. “Even if a patient had one of those conditions on the mandatory BC government form, those patients would only be potentially eligible for an ‘activity by activity’ exemption. This meant the patient would need to apply to the government every single time she wanted to do some basic socializing in a public place.”

The case was dismissed as premature at the lower level because the government admitting that they were issuing medical exemptions outside that “closed list.” “B.C. used a secret and unknowable process in an attempt to remedy a constitutionally deficient law. This cannot be permitted to stand,” continued Van Geyn.

“The women and the girl in this case, citizens who could not obtain good faith medical exemptions in B.C. will now have their day in court,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn. “We are seeking a declaration that these petitioners and those like them had their rights violated by this discriminatory policy”.

The government is also attempting to prevent the appeal from proceeding by arguing that the case is now moot. “The government has thrown up yet another procedural roadblock to stop the women in this case from achieving justice – they are claiming that the case is moot. The government had already unsuccessfully argued that the case was moot at the lower level, and they are now attempting to re-litigate that position.” Said Van Geyn. “The simple fact is the case is not moot. Furthermore, the B.C. government has refused to commit that it will not bring back some form of vaccine passport. As we enter the season for fall respiratory viruses, this is a very real prospect,” cautioned Van Geyn.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation is represented in its intervention by Vancouver lawyer Geoffrey Trotter.