B.C. Woman refused access to gym due to vaccination status

Left Photo by Lukas on Unsplash.
Right Screenshot from Infighting Training Centre’s video.

By: Broderick Visser
Written: 2021-08-08

While British Columbia hasn’t put in place any type of official vaccine passport system — some businesses have gone ahead and made their own policies.

Last week, Jenna, (who will be referred by only her first name for privacy reasons), was looking for a gym to attend. She stumbled across ‘Infighting Training Centers,’ who brand themselves as “Western Canada’s Leading Martial Arts and Fitness Gym.”

“I would have been a new customer, which I assumed they would want due to the pandemic and the fact many gyms and businesses are closing,” she said.

The gym has two locations out west, one in Burnaby and another in Vancouver. They offer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing and Kids Martial Arts.

Jenna, who wanted to get back to the gym, emailed them about their Burnaby Group Fitness Class. She was then asked by staff if she was vaccinated.

“We’re taking out time and we’re doing things step by step. Ensuring everyone’s safety is my main priority. Due to the high intensity of what we do, I’m trying to ensure that everyone in the gym is vaccinated. I apologize in advance if this seems invasive, but I need to ask… What’s your position on vaccination? And have you had your first dose yet? Thank you for your understanding and patience.”

Email from Ritchie Yip, Head Instructor, Infighting Training Centers

Jenna replied;

“I’m not vaccinated and won’t be until I am comfortable with the risks associated. If vaccination is a requirement for your services, I respect that and can try elsewhere, just let me know.”

Yip then told her they could not let her in until she got vaccinated.

While Jenna told them she respected their choice — it still didn’t sit well with her.

‘It all starts with you showing up’

“No requirement for vaccination [is] listed on their website, so what gives. ‘It all starts with you showing up’ if they let you in the building!” she said.

“I am upset that I am being treated as infectious when I am not. I have no issues with wearing masks if that makes people feel better, but barring me from a place altogether is unacceptable if they can’t prove I’m more of a danger than the vaccinated.”

Jenna

According to a leaked CDC document, vaccinated people are spreading the Delta variant just as quickly as the unvaccinated. The National Post reported;

“It cites a combination of recently obtained, still-unpublished data from outbreak investigations and outside studies showing that vaccinated individuals infected with delta may be able to transmit the virus as easily as those who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated people infected with delta have measurable viral loads similar to those who are unvaccinated and infected with the variant.”

‘Left to make their own rules’

When asked, Jenna said she didn’t think businesses should be mandating vaccinations as she thinks they shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate based on vaccination status.

“I don’t think anyone should be mandating this kind of thing at a business level. They have been left to make their own rules up until now, which is fine, but they shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate.”

This same predicament was pondered by GoodLife Fitness higher-ups, but they decided to allow everyone to freely use the facilities.

Jane Riddell, President of GoodLife Fitness decided not to ask customers for proof of vaccination until the government paved the way for them.

“The topic of businesses and organizations requesting proof of vaccination is a very complex and evolving issue and one that we are monitoring closely. It is challenging that there are currently no provincial or federal directives for national businesses such as ours.”

Statement from Jane Riddell, Goodlife Fitness President

She also noted that “it is not as simple as it sounds” and there are legal and privacy concerns in demanding proof.

A lawyers perspective

Jenna has also informed Diverge Media that she has filed a Human Rights Tribunal complaint but thought her complaint would not be taken seriously.

“I think their answer to me was more of the same, and they are actively participating in discrimination,” she said.

She also reached out to her lawyer regarding the legality of a business’s ability to do this.

“You are not the first person who has asked that question. It can definitely be a frustrating situation. That area of law is still developing – due to the “newness” of this behaviour and a bit of a backlog in the courts and the tribunal, I don’t know of any cases or complaints that say that refusing service on the basis of vaccination status is discrimination, but do know there are many in the works. Right now, it appears that businesses are free to set policies like that as they see fit. This will likely change as more judgements and decisions come down and are reported. It is very up in the air right now.”

Statement from Jenna’s Lawyer

At the end of the day, Jenna is against vaccine passports and believes it’s a “slow transition to communism.”

“Vaccine passports should never be a thing. It’s all about control at this point and I honestly think it’s both pointless and an obvious play for a slow transition to communism.”

Some countries have already put in place a vaccine passport, including Israel who did have their “green pass.” It was later repealed three months after it came into effect for a variety of reasons — including lack of enforcement of the pass. They were the first country to introduce a vaccine passport back in March.


Diverge Media reached out multiple times to Infighting Training Centres, but have yet to receive a response.

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