Ontario’s Vaccine Pass Challenge Heads To The Court Of Appeal

TORONTO, ONTARIO – The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms announced today that an appeal has been filed against a decision of the Ontario Superior Court which upheld the constitutionality of Ontario’s vaccine passport system. The system, which was implemented from September 2021 to March 2022, required businesses, such as restaurants and gyms, to check patrons for proof of approved Covid-19 vaccination. Businesses owners that failed to comply faced fines of up to $100,000 or jail-time.

The appeal is being brought on behalf of nine Ontario residents who were prevented from taking the Covid shots because of their religious beliefs or concerns about adverse effects. Ontario’s vaccine passport system prohibited them from engaging in normal social activities and had a significant impact on their self-worth and dignity. In some cases, the appellants were physically harmed by the exclusionary nature of the passport system.

One of the appellants, Ms. Linda McDonough, has Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Her doctor had recommended that she undergo periodic warm water therapy at a local pool, and the treatment was successful in managing her pain. The passport system denied her access to the pool to undergo this therapy, and exacerbated pain from her CRPS.

Lawyers for the appellants will argue that the Court erred by holding that none of the appellants’ rights were infringed by the passport system. The appeal has been filed and is now awaiting a hearing date at the Ontario Court of Appeal.

“The vaccine passport system represented a gross violation of individual rights and freedoms” said Jorge Pineda, counsel for the Appellants. “It was implemented without scientific justification, without a proper legal framework and without taking into consideration the diverse population needs and rights. We will be asking the Court of Appeal to recognize this reality, and to uphold the rights of individuals to be free from government overreach, even in times of fear and panic. We will seek a decision that ensures that any future measure taken by government be justified on a sound legal basis and restrict rights as little as possible.”