By: Greg Staley
Written On: 2021-09-02
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), has indicated that they will be taking the government of Ontario to court for their decision to implement a vaccine passport in the province of Ontario. The JCCF said it was “made possible by a far-reaching amendment to the regulations under the Reopening Ontario Act.” This is the Act that governs the majority of COVID-19 related restrictions and mandates in the province of Ontario.
The JCCF release says that the sweeping amendment made on August 24th, 2021 “provides the Chief Medical Officer with new extraordinary powers, including the power to require any organization, including churches and other places of worship, to deny service to the non-vaccinated.” As such, the JCCF is taking the Ontario government to court to challenge them over vaccine passports.
In speaking about the mandate, the JCCF called it “unthinkable” that any government would require these “experimental injections” as a requirement to participate fully in society.
“The Covid shots are new, and clinical trials will not be complete until 2023. As such, the Covid shots are experimental. Each of the shots also contain warnings from Health Canada, including warnings about pericarditis, myocarditis, and thrombosis. It is unthinkable that any government would require these experimental injections as a condition of full participation in society.”
The Reopening Act of Ontario (section 2.1) states that “the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall operate the business or organization in compliance with any advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of health, or by a medical officer of health after consultation with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.”
Section A of the Act says that it will require the “business or organization to establish, implement and ensure compliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy.”
Vaccine passports are a blatant and unjustified violation of Charter rights and freedoms
Jorge Pineda, a Staff Lawyer with the JCCF said that “vaccine passports are a blatant and unjustified violation of Charter rights and freedoms.” The release from the Justice Centre also raises the concern that “these new vaccine passport laws grant the government a plethora of power” and Mr. Pineda worries it will allow “the province to create similar and further far-reaching measures in the future.”
The JCCF release said that “In today’s announcement (Sept 1, 2021), Dr. Moore threatened further venues may be added in the future.” The JCCF says that “the coming days and weeks will reveal how severely vaccine passports will be enforced.” The JCCF isn’t optimistic about soft enforcement, noting that “current enforcement of the Stage 3 regulation already suggests that enforcement is likely to be aggressive.”
The JCCF outlined how much power the Chief Medical Officer already possesses in the release saying that Dr. Moore “already has the power to make private organizations enforce government-mandated capacity limits, masking requirements, and social distancing requirements.” The JCCF added that punishment for breaching these regulations and continued orders of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act “have in some cases resulted in crippling fines, business shut-downs, and other serious consequences for businesses and individuals who assert their Charter rights and freedoms in the face of these measures.”
Vaccine passports violate principles of equal treatment protected by the Charter
The JCCF release says that vaccine passports “violate the principles of equal treatment under the law protected under the Charter.” They note that an individual who has not been vaccinated could have a variety of reasons for making that decision. These reasons include “religious belief, creed, and medical issues.”
Ontarian Citizens “will now be segregated and their participation in society will become limited to what is deemed “essential” by the government” the report reads. Sayeh Hassan, a lawyer for the Justice Centre whose family fled Iran’s Revolution, stated that “there is already enough fear, tension and division in our society.”
The JCCF lawyer said that “Instead of bringing people together and attempting to alleviate the fear, the government has chosen to mandate further oppressive measures that will only serve to further divide and polarize Ontario.” Hassan added that “we have seen the impact of segregation of certain factions of populations in history and how those incremental steps to segregate have led to the loss of freedom of many in those populations.”
Hassan added that vaccine passports are “a dangerous precedent to set in a free and democratic society where people are considered equal and protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
Mr. Pineda, posited that “the government continues to test the limits of Ontarians’ tolerance for the roll-back of their long-standing rights and liberties.” Mr. Pineda added that “Canadian laws protect individual liberty, and the pandemic did not change that.”
Ultimately, “It will be up the Courts to decide whether the Charter’s protection of life, liberty and security of the person will ultimately triumph,” Mr. Pineda said.
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Screenshot of Doug Ford taken from CPAC coverage
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