An overview of our Lockdown Challenges

 

In an effort to help non-lawyers understand the court process, and response to many emails inquiring about our lockdown challenges, the Justice Centre would like to answer some common questions.

Alberta Lockdown Challenge 

With regards to the Alberta Charter challenge against government lockdowns, the Justice Centre applied for an injunction on December 21, 2020 as a beginning step in the larger legal action.

No date has been set to hear the Charter challenge, but it is expected in Fall 2021. 

The expert evidence presented by the Justice Centre in this legal challenge is in affidavit form with exhibits, totaling more than 500 pages and includes the affidavits of:

A respected, retired Alberta doctor and former surgeon

An expert report from a University Professor with a PhD in Global Health Research

An expert report from David Redman, former Executive Director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, retired Lieutenant Colonel, with over 25 years military experience, with vast experience in logistics and formulating plans to deal with a variety of emergencies, including pandemics.

In addition to these experts for the injunction, the larger Charter Challenge to be heard later in 2021 includes additional evidence from:

An Alberta doctor and Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya -Professor of Medicine at Stanford University and research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. He directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging and is Co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration.

Additional experts are pending. This legal action also includes challenging the validity and reliability of PCR tests.

 

Manitoba Lockdown Challenge 

The Manitoba Lockdown challenge began with an initial hearing on February 9, 2021 in Winnipeg, on a challenge to the constitutionality of the Public Health Act delegating broad authority to the Chief Provincial Health Officer to make Public Health Orders.

The Charter Challenge took place over eight days beginning April 19, 2021. This part of the lawsuit challenges Manitoba’s lockdown measures as unjustified violations of various Charter freedoms. This legal action also includes challenges the validity and reliability of PCR tests.

The Manitoba action contains an expert report for the Justice Centre authored by world-renowned Stanford Professor Dr. Bhattacharya and more than 2000 pages of peer-reviewed science and government data we have entered into evidence before the Court.

A decision has not yet been issued by the Court on this hearing.

 

BC Challenge to Provincial Health Orders 

On January 8, 2021, the Justice Centre filed a constitutional challenge on behalf of three churches and four individuals against restrictions on public protest and the prohibition on in-person worship services in Public Health Orders issued by BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

In response, the BC government filed an injunction application, targeting the three churches who filed the court challenge. On February 17, the Court denied the government’s request for an injunction.

For the British Columbia challenge to provincial health orders in which we represent churches and individuals, the Justice Centre provided the Court with over 1000 pages of expert evidence, including sworn testimony from an experienced and credentialed Epidemiologist and former Chief Provincial Medical Officer of Health, as well as from an Infectious Disease Specialist.

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled in favor of the Justice Centre’s clients on March 18, 2021, to strike down Public Health Orders banning outdoor protests but dismissed disappointed the challenge to the BC Government’s prohibition on in-person religious gatherings.

Regarding the Applicant churches, Chief Justice Hinkson found that Dr. Henry’s Orders infringe the fundamental freedoms of religion, speech, assembly and association, but ruled that the infringements are justified. The Chief Justice found that Dr. Henry was owed deference to her decision-making and was not required to be correct in making her orders but only needed to have acted in a reasonable range of alternatives.

The Justice Centre is appealing the BC Court decision to deny churches the right to hold in-person gatherings for worship.

 

A Decade of Fighting for Freedom

The Justice Centre is entirely independent and committed to fighting for the freedoms of all Canadians. We are not associated with any other groups or organizations, cannot be influenced, and receive no government funding. Our lawyers and staff are deeply committed to fighting for the freedom of Canadians. With a 10-year history of fighting for the constitutional freedoms of Canadians, and many successes (see Concluded Cases, and Out of Court Victories), our entire team has very carefully targeted legal strategies taking into account how the court system works, to challenge these unconstitutional lockdowns.

Appeals

Not all court cases are won at the lower court level. At times, the Justice Centre does and must appeal a decision to a higher court, such as the Appeal Court of the province, to achieve a successful removal of restrictions on Charter freedoms. This is expected and is part of the legal process. Court proceeds slowly, and some matters are complex and need to be heard at a higher level of Court.