TORONTO: The Justice Centre has filed legal action against Seneca College representing four students who are not permitted to return to Seneca College’s campus unless they receive vaccinations intended for the prevention of Covid-19. The students have decided not to receive these vaccines at this time. A court date is pending.
Ms. Mariana Costa is enrolled in a three-year Fashion Arts program. Ms. Crystal Love is enrolled in a two-year Veterinary Technician program. Ms. Alexandra Badowich is enrolled in a four-year Crime and Intelligence Program, and Ms. Angelina Mandekic is enrolled in a two-year Practical Nursing Program. All students expected to complete their programs and begin their new careers in April 2022.
Ms. Love is a single mother who has been working hard to be able to better provide for her children. Ms. Badowich is expecting a child later this year and was prevented by Seneca from attending a one-hour administrative meeting for her work placement, despite the fact that the work placement would be completed online thereafter, rendering her unable to graduate this spring. All of the women are anxious to finish their programs to be able to begin new careers and provide for their families.
The Justice Centre wrote a letter on behalf of Ms. Costa and Ms. Love in July of 2021 advising the College that if it did not lift the vaccine requirement for the two students, legal action would commence. Those letters never received a response.
On August 30, 2021, Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Health Officer of Ontario, provided all post-secondary education institutions in the province with instructions requiring them to offer students three choices as part of their Covid-19 vaccine plans, any of which would facilitate their access to campus:
- Show proof of double vax; or,
- Show medical exemption which Seneca College must approve; or,
- Offer a Covid-19 vaccine education session on the safety and benefits of the vaccine – if students choose this option they must frequently test.
Seneca College does not offer an education session and testing option to its students.
None of the students can fully complete their programs online, which will leave them struggling to deal with student loan payments in the long-term as it will take them longer to earn income to begin to pay them back. They have found alternative employment in lower paying jobs than the careers they expected to begin in April 2022. The four students allege Seneca College has breached its contract with the students.
The Supreme Court of Canada has held that the Charter applies to the actions of colleges in Canada, and the Charter protects these students’ rights of conscience, privacy, and to life, liberty, and security of the person. A court may also find that vaccine mandates discriminate against the vaccine-free and are a violation of their equality rights.
The students were not provided with all of the known potential risks associated with the Covid-19 vaccinations (such as Bell’s Palsy, myocarditis, pericarditis, and thrombosis) prior to being informed that they would need them to be able to complete their education. There are currently Health Canada warning labels for these conditions for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.
All of the Covid-19 vaccines are experimental, as they are in clinical trials until 2023. As a result, there is no long-term safety data available for these vaccines.
There is compelling scientific evidence that these vaccines do not stop transmission, which is now becoming widely accepted. On January 14, 2022 in Ontario, for example, the Ontario government reported that there were 8518 Covid-19 cases in the fully vaccinated, and 1458 cases in the unvaccinated. On January 12, 2022, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe specified in a press conference, “Vaccination is not preventing the spread of Omicron and we need to be very clear and honest about that…”
Governments thus far have provided no evidence that post-secondary education vaccine mandates will prevent the spread of Covid-19. Further, most post-secondary students, including the students in this legal action, are under 49 years of age. According to the Center for Disease Control, they have a 99.98% chance of recovery if they contracted Covid-19.
“Seneca College has violated these students’ rights of conscience, bodily autonomy, privacy, and has discriminated against them based on their medical status,” states Allison Pejovic, Justice Centre Staff Lawyer.
“The College has also broken its contract with the students, causing them financial hardship and severe stress,” Ms. Pejovic continues. “They are devastated that they will not be able to commence their new careers this April as they had planned.”
“Seneca College has chosen not to follow the Ontario government’s legal requirement to offer students a Covid-19 vaccine education session and frequent testing instead of proof of Covid-19 vaccination,” adds Mr. Andre Memauri, Justice Centre Staff Lawyer.
“Seneca College has no scientific basis upon which to exclude these students, who have a vanishingly small risk of death from Covid,” continues Mr. Memauri.
“The science and data are clear that both vaccinated and unvaccinated Ontarians spread Covid-19. These mandates serve only to punish the students for their lack of compliance,” concludes Ms. Pejovic.