B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry puts on her mask following discussion of details about the COVID-19 vaccine card set to arrive in mid-September 2021, at a press conference at the provincial legislature in Victoria on Aug. 23, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Chad Hipolito)
July 10, 2022
The province of British Columbia is facing court battles one after another from various parties over vaccine requirements it imposed during the pandemic.
The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) filed a legal challenge to the B.C. vaccine passport regime on Sept. 28, 2021, saying it discriminated against people who could not be vaccinated for medical reasons.
Lawyer Geoffrey Trotter, who is handling the case for the CCF, says the province was too narrow in its list of acceptable medical exemptions from the passport and gave no opportunity for recourse.
“It was a closed list with no opportunity for individualized assessment. Of course, that’s good for administrative efficiency, but it’s not good for respecting the constitutional rights of people who can’t safely get the vaccine,” Trotter said in an interview.
One plaintiff in the case is a teenage girl who says she developed heart inflammation after her first dose of a COVID vaccine. Another is a woman who says she experienced nerve damage and partial paralysis in her arm following her first vaccine dose. She subsequently became pregnant and says she was advised by her neurologist not to get a second dose. Another woman who had complex disabilities and was contraindicated for many medications says she was at heightened risk for a serious reaction yet was ineligible for an exemption.
Trotter said he was lucky to have been able to advance the case, given procedural barriers unique to B.C.
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