Municipal councillor fights suspension for refusing to disclose Covid vax status

OTTAWA: The Justice Centre announced today the filing of legal action on behalf of Cynthia Guerard, a councillor from the Municipality of Mississippi Mills, Ontario, just south of Ottawa. Mississippi Mills town council suspended Ms. Guerard’s pay for 90 days for allegedly attending council meetings without disclosing her vaccination status, a violation of the town’s Code of Conduct, and for allegedly failing to show sufficient remorse. The suspension decision came after an investigation by the municipality’s Integrity Commissioner.

“I firmly believe in every Canadian’s right to keep their private medical information confidential, a fundamental right that, in Ontario, is protected by statute,” says Ms. Guerard. She continues, “I look forward to making my case that the investigation and decision were biased and contrary to my fundamental Charter freedoms.”

This lawsuit seeks to reverse the decision to punish Ms. Guerard on the grounds the process leading to the decision was unfair, and that important factual errors were made in the investigative report prepared by the Integrity Commissioner.

“We are particularly concerned that the Integrity Commissioner and Council may have been biased against Ms. Guerard,” says Keith Pridgen, lawyer retained by the Justice Centre . “She was not interviewed during the investigation and was punished for attending a meeting that had not yet happened. Also, she was given the harshest punishment available, something normally reserved for the most egregious violations of the Code of Conduct, such as for sexual harassment or other flagrant misconduct.”

Mr. Pridgen and other Justice Centre lawyers will bring this case in Ottawa Divisional court on a date to be announced.