TORONTO (Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms) — The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is announcing that the challenge to Ontario’s now expired vaccine passport system will be heard by the Ontario Superior Court on Monday, November 21 and Tuesday, November 22.
The Ontario government implemented a vaccine passport system on September 21, 2021, which prohibited unvaccinated people from accessing many public venues, such as gyms, pools, and restaurants. Businesses were forced to implement this system or face fines of up to $100,000. Business owners could face up to 1 year in jail if they refused to comply with the discriminatory passport system.
The Justice Centre is representing eight Ontario residents who were excluded from normal everyday activities for exercising their right to decide not to take the vaccine.
Ontario rescinded the passports in March 2022, as more evidence confirmed that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals spread COVID in equal measure. The vaccines are still undergoing clinical trials that are set to finish in 2023.
Sarah Lamb from Kitchener is one of the applicants in the proceeding. She received her first COVID shot in May 2021. The following day she experienced a host of adverse effects, including dizziness and loss of sensation below the waist. These are symptoms she had never experienced before. She continues to experience some of these symptoms. Due to the severe side effects she suffered after her first dose, she decided against a second shot. She requested an exemption from the passport system and was denied. The passport system left Lamb isolated and has had a significant impact on her family and social life.
Linda McDonough, another applicant, suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS). Her doctor advised her that the COVID vaccine would exacerbate her CPRS and cause her more pain. McDonough declined to receive the vaccine on this basis. She was denied access to the local pool, which she uses for water therapy, a treatment integral to managing pain from CPRS that her doctors recommended.
Some applicants in the court challenge have religious objections to taking the COVID shots but the passport system in Ontario failed to provide a category for exemption based on sincerely-held religious or conscientious beliefs.
All the applicants were prohibited from engaging in normal social events and every-day activities that were previously accessible to all Ontarians. Excluding people, without proof of having two doses of the COVID shot, from everyday societal activities is a violation of their rights guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Lawyers for the applicants will argue that the passport system was coercive, arbitrary, discriminatory and that it removed Ontarians’ free and informed consent to a medical procedure or intervention. The hearing was originally scheduled for July 2022 but the Court expressed concerns about the issue of “mootness,” referring to the fact that the passport system had been rescinded before the matter could be heard in court.. A new hearing will proceed on November 21 and 22.
“Without a guarantee of bodily autonomy, there cannot be a free and democratic society” said Jorge Pineda, a Justice Centre lawyer. “These vaccine passports were an unprecedented form of coercion on the Ontario populace. What many do not know is that they were not grounded on a scientific rationale. This fact will be in evidence before the court next week.”
Reprinted with permission from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.