EDMONTON: The Justice Centre is pleased that Alberta Health Services (AHS) will be lifting its Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers effective March 10, 2022 at 4:00pm, but today announces that the court action will continue against AHS for violating the Charter rights of four physicians.
On December 8, 2021, the Justice Centre filed a Statement of Claim and Injunction Application on behalf of four Alberta physicians. The doctors were facing termination, restrictions, and disciplinary action for standing against Alberta Health Service’s (“AHS”) mandatory vaccine policy for all staff. On December 22, 2021, AHS issued an amendment, on the direction of the provincial Government, which allowed an estimated 1,400 unvaccinated Healthcare Workers who were placed on unpaid leave, terminated and/or disciplined by AHS, to return to work with the option of rapid testing. This policy change to allow for rapid testing was announced a few days after the Justice Centre had been in court asking for this specific accommodation.
In addition to challenging AHS for constitutional violations, the lawsuit brought by the Justice Centre on behalf of the four doctors advocates for returning to basic medical principles including: recognition of natural immunity, doctor-patient privilege, informed consent, personal autonomy and the duty to disclose.
On December 17, 2021, Alberta Court of Queens’ Bench Justice John Henderson noted in an oral decision: “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.”
“Our healthcare workers selflessly went to work during the most uncertain time of the Covid-19 pandemic, yet two years later many of these same people were subjected to discrimination, coercion and vilification by AHS. This type of policy yo-yo-ing terrorized our healthcare workers at every wave and created a hostile working environment for them. This is not acceptable,” says Eva Chipiuk, Justice Centre lawyer.
“While AHS has lifted its mandatory vaccination policy for the time being, the constitutionality and jurisdiction of this vaccine mandate have not been decided, nor has the Court ruled on the issues of natural immunity, doctor-patient privilege, informed consent, personal autonomy and the duty to disclose, which were raised in the lawsuit.”
“The Justice Centre will still pursue this matter in order to address the serious constitutional issues raised by the mandatory vaccine policy,” says Ms. Chipiuk.