Justice Centre fights Fed’s request to throw out travel ban lawsuit

CALGARY: The Justice Centre announces that lawyers will be in Federal Court on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, in Response to the Federal Government’s attempt to have the Court throw out the ongoing legal action advanced by the Honourable Brian Peckford, the Honourable Maxime Bernier, and five other Canadians, who are challenging the federal government’s mandatory Covid vaccine requirements for air travellers (the “Travel Ban”).

In October of 2021, the federal government announced that anyone travelling by air, train, or ship must receive the required number of Covid vaccines in order to travel. The travel ban prevented approximately 6 million vaccine-free Canadians (15% of Canada’s population) from travelling within Canada and from flying out of Canada. If Canadian governments require people to receive booster doses to be considered ‘fully vaccinated’, the number of Canadians who would be negatively impacted could double or triple, should travel mandates be renewed in the future.

Justice Centre lawyers filed evidence in March 2022 on behalf of 11 witnesses, including five expert witnesses. This evidence documents how the Canadians involved in the lawsuit cannot travel to help sick loved ones, get to work, visit family and friends, access health care outside of Canada, take international vacations, or live ordinary lives. Expert medical evidence now filed with the court ranges from scientific evidence about Covid transmission among both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, risks associated with taking the new Covid vaccines, vaccine harms such as myocarditis and possible effects on fertility, and the superiority of natural immunity.

On June 14, 2022, the federal government issued a news release announcing that, as of June 20, the vaccine requirements would be suspended “for domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal government employees.” Shortly after, the federal government filed a motion with the court seeking to strike out the legal challenge because the Travel Ban is no longer in force.

All of the parties’ evidence totalling 14,000 pages, including these Applicants’ affidavits and expert reports, was filed on August 5, 2022.

On August 8, 2022, the Justice Centre filed its response to the federal government’s motion, which reads in part, “The Federal Government has maintained that the impacts of Covid represent a public health emergency, which justifies impositions on the rights and freedoms of Canadians at an unprecedented level. The Covid pandemic and restrictions have caused much division in Canada. These Applicants have applied to this Court to review the Federal Government’s actions, secure their rights, and bring clarity and finality to a controversial and divisive topic that has had far reaching impacts throughout all of Canada. It is these Applicants’ position that, without a hearing on the merits of this matter in an open and transparent court, it would erode the democratic foundation of our society.”

The application will be live-streamed. Canadians who wish to attend must register for a link to observe the court application live.

Schedule of the Travel Ban lawsuit:
September 21: One day in-person Mootness Hearing
September 30: Service and filing of Respondent’s Record
October 31–November 4: Hearing

“Canada was one of the few countries in the world that had a travel ban on unvaccinated citizens flying within the country and to different provinces. This travel ban has not been cancelled, only suspended, and so court action must continue,” notes lawyer Ms. Eva Chipiuk.

“These infringements on Canadians’ Charter rights are unprecedented, and this matter must be adjudicated by the Court,” continues Ms. Chipiuk.