Saskatchewan surgeon sues Health Authority and College of Medicine after being terminated and defamed for questioning covid vaccines for children

SASKATCHEWAN: The Justice Centre announced today that a Statement of Claim has been filed on behalf of Dr. Francis Christian, formerly a Clinical Professor of General Surgery at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and a now retired surgeon in Saskatoon. A year ago, the Justice Centre reported that Dr. Christian was called into a meeting where he was suspended from all teaching responsibilities, and terminated from his position with the U of S as of September 2021. Dr. Christian had advocated for the precautionary principle of informed consent, and drew attention to the risks of Covid vaccines for children. On the same day, Dr. Christian was also terminated from his surgical position with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). A recording of the meeting was previously made available by the Justice Centre.

Dr. Christian is challenging his suspension and termination, contending that the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine (the College), and SHA breached his rights of expression and conscience protected under the Charter, and that the College also breached his right to academic freedom.

Dr. Christian has been a surgeon for more than 20 years and began working in Saskatoon in 2007. He was appointed Director of the Surgical Humanities Program and Director of Quality and Patient Safety in 2018. He co-founded the Surgical Humanities Program, with a professional responsibility for patient safety. Dr. Christian was also the Editor of the Journal of The Surgical Humanities.

On June 17, 2021, Dr. Christian released a statement to the press and to over 200 doctors, which contained his concerns regarding the administration of Covid vaccines to children. In it he noted that he is pro-vaccine and that he did not represent any group, the SHA, or the U of S. “I speak to you directly as a physician, a surgeon, and a fellow human being,” he stated. Dr. Christian pointed out that the principle of informed consent was sacrosanct and noted that a patient should always be “fully aware of the risks of the medical intervention, the benefits of the intervention, and if any alternatives exist to the intervention.”

“This should apply particularly to a new vaccine that has never before been tried in humans… before the vaccine is rolled out to children, both children and parents must know the risks of m-RNA vaccines,” Dr. Christian stated. He further expressed concern that he had not come across “a single vaccinated child or parent who had, in his view, been adequately informed” about Covid vaccines for children.

Dr. Christian added there is a large, growing “network of ethical, moral physicians and scientists” who are urging caution in recommending vaccines for all children without informed consent. He said, physicians must “always put their patients and humanity first.”

The lawsuit alleges that leading up to Dr. Christian’s suspension and termination, he was publicly defamed by the SHA, by its (then) president and CEO Scott Livingstone, and by the Dean of the College of Medicine, Dr. Preston Smith. This public defamation contributed towards Dr. Christian’s early retirement in 2022. Dr. Christian has also advanced a separate defamation claim against the SHA, Mr. Livingstone and Dean Smith, with which the Justice Centre has no involvement.

“The Saskatchewan Health Authority and the College have violated Dr. Christian’s Charter-protected freedoms of expression and conscience. The College’s conduct is a gross violation of the principles of academic freedom and scientific inquiry,” states Andre Memauri, one of the lawyers representing Dr. Christian. “The defamatory statements made by some of the defendants against Dr. Christian add insult to injury, and Dr. Christian will pursue justice accordingly,” adds Mr. Memauri.

“The censorship of esteemed medical professionals in Canada during the Covid pandemic is profoundly disturbing. Canadians ought to be able to benefit from scientific discourse, inquiry, and debate, and hear divergent opinions from well-respected doctors and scientists,” states Allison Pejovic, Justice Centre lawyer and co-counsel for Dr. Christian.

“Legitimate concerns stemming from scientific research ought to be discussed and debated; instead they have often been suppressed and muted which is both unscientific and undemocratic.