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CALGARY, Alberta (Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms) – The Justice Centre filed a Response to the federal government’s motion to strike the ongoing legal challenge on behalf of former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford, People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, and four other Canadians to strike down the federal government’s mandatory COVID vaccine requirements for air travellers.

In October of 2021, the federal government announced that anyone travelling by air, train, or ship, must receive the required number of COVID vaccines in order to travel. The travel ban prevented approximately six million vaccine-free Canadians (15 percent of Canada’s population) from travel within Canada and prevented them from flying out of Canada. Canada’s new definition for vaccination as including boosters could double or triple the number of affected Canadians should the travel mandate be renewed in the future.

Lawyers for the Justice Centre – Keith Wilson, QC, Allison Pejovic, Eva Chipiuk and Patrick Abbott, Student-at-Law – filed evidence in March 2022 on behalf of eleven witnesses, including five expert witnesses. The evidence filed shows how the Canadians involved in the lawsuit cannot travel to help sick loved ones, get to work, visit family and friends, access health care outside of Canada, take international vacations, and live ordinary lives. Expert medical evidence now filed with the court ranges from scientific evidence about COVID spread among both vaccinated and unvaccinated, risks associated with taking the new COVID vaccines, vaccine harms such as myocarditis and possible effects on fertility, and the superiority of natural immunity.

On June 14, 2022, the federal government issued a news release, announcing that as of June 20, the vaccine requirements would be suspended “for domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal government employees.” Shortly after, the federal government filed a motion with the court seeking to strike out the legal challenge because the travel ban is no longer in force.

The Justice Centre’s filed its response Tuesday to the federal government’s motion which reads in part:

“The Federal Government has maintained that the impacts of COVID represent a public health emergency, which justifies impositions on the rights and freedoms of Canadians at an unprecedented level. The COVID pandemic and restrictions have caused much division in Canada. These Applicants have applied to this Court to review the Federal Government’s actions, secure their rights, and bring clarity and finality to a controversial and divisive topic that has had far reaching impacts throughout all of Canada.  It is these Applicants’ position that without a hearing on the merits of this matter, in an open and transparent court, it would erode the democratic foundation of our society.”

Schedule of the travel ban lawsuit

August 10: Service and filing of Applicants’ Records and Response to the Respondent’s Mootness Application (Mootness means the government will argue that with the suspension of the travel ban, the legal action is now pointless).
September 21: One day in-person Mootness Hearing.
September 30: Service and filing of Respondent’s Record.
October 31 – November 4: Hearing

“Canadians cannot live in a country which will not permit them to freely leave for business, for necessary medical care, to see loved ones abroad, to vacation, or simply to move away. Any country that makes receipt of a drug or medical treatment a condition to departing the country has lost all semblance of freedom and respect for human dignity,” stated Chipiuk.

“Canada was one of the few countries in the world that had a travel ban on unvaccinated citizens flying within the country and to different provinces. This travel ban has not been cancelled, only suspended, and so court action must continue,” Chipiuk noted.

Reprinted with permission from the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms.