New Brunswick’s “Winter Covid-Plan” targets religious services and invites grocery stores to refuse service to the vaccine-free

CALGARY: The Justice Centre sent the New Brunswick Minister of Justice today a warning letter in relation to the most recent Covid-19 Order dated December 4, 2021.

The Order discriminates against people of all faith who attend funerals, weddings, and social gatherings by requiring the owners and occupiers to ensure occupants are fully vaccinated, while non-faith gatherings have no such requirement.

The Order states, in part:

“In every church and other faith venue, paragraph 2 does not apply, but the owners, occupiers and managers are required to take every reasonable step to ensure at every indoor faith gathering that every person in the venue is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

“This is an unconscionable violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it has no scientific or legal justification.” states Andre Memauri, staff lawyer at the Justice Centre. “Vaccine-free New Brunswickers who are grieving the loss of a family member cannot attend a funeral but are permitted into a pool hall with a negative test”.

The Order also goes on to implicitly invite private sector grocery stores to freely choose vaccination requirements for entry. The right to food is a fundamental Human Right enshrined in various international instruments including Article 25 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights amongst other Human Rights instruments.

“An invitation to the private sector to consider such egregious discriminatory practices triggers historic Charter violations” says Mr. Memauri. “Potentially depriving citizens of food constitutes an act of cruelty. It is discriminatory, unconstitutional, and likely an offence under international law. No one should be barred from the ability to purchase food to feed their family,” says Mr. Memauri.

“Canada is better than this.”