The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has released the 2021 Campus Vaccine Index to help educate students, parents and the public with the campus Covid-19 vaccination policies of 61 public universities in Canada.
Canada-wide, the favoured approach among universities is to let students, staff, faculty and campus visitors make their own health decisions without threats to their liberties. As of August 17, 65% of Canadian universities (40/61 universities) do not have any mandatory vaccination policies in place.
Universities situated in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Yukon have not instituted any campus-wide mandatory vaccination policies.
However, at least one university situated in each of the provinces of Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia does have a mandatory vaccination policy.
Universities in Ontario and Saskatchewan are the worst offenders: 17/20 or 85% of Ontario universities have instituted a mandatory vaccine policy, although at some schools, students can opt for onerous twice-weekly testing regimes in lieu of the jab. Both of Saskatchewan’s universities have mandatory vaccine policies in place.
Since 2011, the Justice Centre has published the annual Campus Freedom Index report to measure the state of free speech at Canada’s publicly-funded universities. However, due to government-mandated lockdown measures, there was insufficient campus data to analyze for the 2020–2021 academic year. This year’s Campus Vaccine Index is therefore a special edition of our annual report.
The Justice Centre’s position is that mandating vaccination for Canadians under most circumstances violates their right to bodily autonomy, and other Charter protected rights to freedom of conscience and religion, mobility rights, and the right to liberty, and security of the person. The Justice Centre is considering the commencement of a Charter application against a college in Ontario which, if successful, may result in a change in policy on universities as well.
Getting a Covid vaccination should not be a prerequisite to accessing postsecondary education in Canada.