Court denies students’ request to block Seneca’s vaccine mandate

TORONTO: The Justice Centre regrets to announce that the injunction application on behalf of two students challenging Seneca College’s mandatory vaccination policy for the fall term was unsuccessful. Two students who brought the legal action had hoped to return to school in the fall and complete their education. Seneca College will not permit them to attend classes for the 2022-2023 school year because they have refused to be injected with Covid vaccines.

Mariana Costa and Crystal Love were in the final year of their respective programs and had expected to begin their new careers in April 2022. Both students are single mothers who enrolled at Seneca to provide a better life for their children.

Mr. Justice W.D. Black of the Ontario Superior Court rendered a 17-page decision on the injunction in favour of Seneca College, stating: “In my view, the public interest in minimizing the risk and consequences of Covid-19 by requiring attendees at Seneca’s campus to show proof of vaccination substantially outweighs the interest of the applicants in avoiding the vaccinations in question…”

Seneca was among the first post-secondary institutions in Ontario to enforce a mandatory Covid vaccine mandate. It remains one of the very few schools in Ontario to maintain such a mandate for the fall term, even as governments and other institutions across Canada terminated mandatory vaccine policies in early 2022, in the wake of the Omicron variant and evidence that the Covid vaccines do not prevent transmission of the virus. Evidence continues to mount that the Covid vaccines do not stop infection or transmission of the virus and may give rise to a number of potentially dangerous side effects which Health Canada has recognized in its various safety warnings.

Covid vaccine manufacturers have included in-package warnings to consumers. A vaccine injury program has been established by the federal government to compensate individuals who have been harmed by the injections.

While the following statements were not part of evidence before the Court, the denial of an injunction was rendered at a time when statements from the Colleges and Universities Ministry publicly stated that they want to see schools follow the advice of Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Health Officer (CMHO). Dr. Moore said, “Although post-secondary institutions are independent, our expectation is that they explore all available options to ensure all students can attend class in person where possible” and “while booster shots are available to all adults, young healthy people may want to evaluate the risk of additional shots versus the low risk for such people to end up in hospital from COVID.” Moreover, the CMHO has told reporters that, in his view, the current measures set out by his office are enough to protect the population.

The students in the case do not have the option to complete their studies online and the evidence ultimately revealed that at least for one of the students, reasonable alternatives to conclude their particular education were not available.

It is established that the risks associated with Covid increase exponentially with age. Both students involved in the injunction are under 40 years old and have a low chance of serious illness or death.

“This is an unfortunate outcome at this point in time, after more than two and a half years of dealing with Covid,” states Andre Memauri, one of the lawyers representing the students. “Given previous court decisions, we know the Court is aware of the fact that Government is not infallible and the ‘facts’ of Covid are changing. So how there can be an established standard of medical care on a moving target as proposed by Seneca’s experts and favoured by the Court in this decision is difficult to grasp,” concludes Mr. Memauri.

While the injunction was not successful, the case will continue to the next stage of proceedings.