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Rights group sues Ontario government over proof of vaccination

Monday, October 18, 2021 @ 2:33 PM | By Amanda Jerome

On Oct. 18, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) announced it has launched a legal challenge, on behalf of eight Ontarians, against the province’s proof of vaccination mandate.

According to the court file “[A]ll Applicants are adults who have decided not to consent to medical treatment, namely, one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.” The JCCF’s announcement noted that this is a constitutional challenge.

JCCF staff lawyer Jorge Pineda noted in a statement that “with respect to owners of businesses and organizations, the vaccine passports compel them to enforce unconstitutional laws, as well as laws that would typically be considered to violate human rights legislation.”

“Ontarians should not be forced to discriminate and exclude others from society on the basis of a personal and private medical decision,” he added.

The JCCF’s announcement explained that Ontario’s “vaccine passport laws,” which were introduced on Sept. 22, “prohibit individuals from entering restaurants, gyms and other establishments unless they are ‘fully vaccinated’ as defined by the Government.”

According to the JCCF’s announcement “businesses and organizations that do not enforce these new restrictions are liable to fines of up to $10 million and business owners are being threatened with imprisonment for up to one year.”

“The Supreme Court of Canada has found that the Charter protects the right to bodily autonomy and informed consent, this is the law, and it is indisputable. The vaccine passport is a brazen attempt to subvert the Charter and to render its protections meaningless,” said Pineda in a statement.

“The Ontario vaccine passport itself is an instrument of coercion that pressures individuals to submit to a medical intervention, contrary to their will and their own best judgment,” he added, noting “not only is this ethically wrong, it is also illegal.”

“When we get before the court, we will be urging that they see these vaccine mandates for what they really do — which is take away the long-standing rights of citizens to make informed decisions about their own medical care,” he explained.

On Oct. 15, Ontario released an “enhanced vaccine certificate with official QR code” as well as the “verification app, Verify Ontario.”

The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said that “getting vaccinated is the most important thing we can all do to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from COVID-19.”

“Proof of vaccination using the new vaccine certificate with QR code and Verify Ontario app are important tools to help stop the spread of the virus while keeping businesses and organizations open safely,” he added in a statement.

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