The Justice Centre filed a judicial review against McMaster University’s decision to withdraw four McMaster students from their programs, for deciding against taking the Covid vaccine. Justice Centre lawyers represented four students, including two doctoral students, an MBA student at the DeGroote School of Business, and an Honours Biochemistry undergraduate student. The two-day hearing took place on March 16 and 17, 2022, before a panel of three judges of the Ontario Divisional Court.
The decision was released on April 29, 2022. Though it had jurisdiction to do so, the Division Court declined to exercise its decision and refused to make a decision on the reasonableness of McMaster’s decisions. This was due to the fact that in the Courts’ opinion, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal is an adequate alternative to judicial review. Justice Centre lawyers are considering further legal action in consultation with their clients.
McMaster introduced a mandatory vaccine policy in the 2021 fall study term. The policy required all students to take two doses of approved Covid shots or face being removed from their program. Students were permitted to request exemptions to the mandatory vaccine policy, which are considered by the Equity and Inclusion Office. Students were not told they would be withdrawn from their programs until after their exemption requests were denied by McMaster.
The available Covid vaccines are known to have been tested against a cell-line known as HEK-293, which McMaster’s own vaccine FAQ website describes as “replications of tissue from elective abortions that happened 30 to 60 years ago.” The students requested exemptions from McMaster’s mandatory vaccination policy on human rights grounds, however McMaster refused their exemption requests, claiming that there was no connection between the students’ religious beliefs and their refusal to receive the Covid vaccine.