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CCF: preparing to take BC government to court to halt discriminatory vaccine passports

TORONTO: The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) is preparing to litigate over the British Columbia government’s discriminatory vaccine passports. The CCF has written to the provincial government to ask them to end the policy. The BC government confirmed again today that the policy will include no exemptions for people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons.

In a letter addressed to the BC Premier, Minister of Health, Attorney General, and Provincial Public Health Officer, the CCF has outlined concerns regarding the section 15 and section 7 Charter rights of people in BC. In particular, the letter outlines concerns about the failure of the vaccine passport policy to accommodate individuals who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

“The BC vaccine passport policy restricts access to certain public spaces to only people who are fully vaccinated. There are many people in BC, and indeed across Canada, who wish they could be vaccinated but cannot be because of a medical condition,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn.

In the letter to the BC government, the CCF outlines the stories of two BC residents who developed adverse reactions following their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Those reactions included neurological symptoms and a condition called brachial neuritis.

“I’ve spoken to people who have had serious adverse reactions to the vaccine. Who have complex anaphylaxis, blood clotting disorders, auto-immune disorders, and pre-existing heart conditions, like pre-existing heart inflammation. Some of these people use public spaces like gyms and pools as a regime of therapy for their disability, and the vaccine passport is restricting their ability to care for their health,” said Van Geyn. “For these patients, both the vaccine and COVID may present a higher risk than it does for a healthy person. They must make difficult and deeply personal trade-offs about their health. It is inappropriate for the government to try to force an outcome in one direction through policies like vaccine passports,” continued Van Geyn.

“The BC vaccine passport discriminates against people on the basis of their disabilities by denying them access to public spaces. The government has refused to make this accommodation, and we are now taking steps to litigate,” concluded Van Geyn

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