EDMONTON: The Justice Centre is disappointed to announce that Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Henderson denied a request for an interim order today to stop a mandatory vaccine requirement by Alberta Health Services (AHS). The order was requested by four Alberta doctors who have lost their jobs or had their medical privileges restricted due to the Vaccine Mandate of AHS. In his one-hour oral decision, Justice Henderson acknowledged that all the doctors have taken a principled objection to taking the Covid vaccine and that all the doctors have “genuine, subjective concerns with the Covid-19 vaccines that are currently available.” Justice Henderson went on to say: “One thing is perfectly clear; the Plaintiffs have a right to refuse to take the vaccine. No one can force them to take the vaccine. That is a right that must be respected.”
Notwithstanding this statement, Justice Henderson dismissed the application for an Interim Order, first heard on December 14, 2021, stating that it was necessary to hear more comprehensively from AHS before he could fully consider the strength of the legal challenge brought by the doctors. This initial application is only a first step in an anticipated long legal challenge to protect the personal physical autonomy and Charter rights of physicians and other health care workers who are being fired for not taking the new Covid vaccine. All parties involved have agreed to a shortened hearing schedule to expedite the case and ensure that a trial will occur within the next 3 months.
The Justice Centre requested that the Court grant a temporary order prohibiting AHS from enforcing the Vaccine Mandate against the doctors, as well as a temporary order directing AHS to follow Alberta’s Restriction Exemption Program and allow Rapid Testing in lieu of vaccination to allow the doctors to continue to practice at AHS sites in Alberta.
“All four doctors treated and cared for their patients without incident during the worst of the Covid over the past 20 months, yet their reasonable requests for workplace accommodation were denied, and these dedicated doctors now have either been terminated, have had their privileges restricted, and/or are being disciplined for not complying with AHS’ Vaccine Mandate,” says Eva Chipiuk, Justice Centre Staff Lawyer.
“There is enormous disparity between the state and its various branches and service providers, such as AHS, and the vulnerable individual citizen. Our clients have principled, scientific objections to AHS’ compulsion to get the Covid vaccine, including their own natural immunity after having contracted the virus, and their right to make informed decisions regarding their own personal health care,” notes Ms. Chipiuk.
“Our clients will assert their legal rights to the full extent of the law.”