Supreme Court of Canada declines to hear challenge to Covid-19 vaccine mandate for transplant candidates

OTTAWA: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms regrets to announce that the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear Sheila Annette Lewis’ case against Covid-19 vaccine mandates for transplant candidates.

Today the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision on whether it would hear Ms. Lewis’s constitutional legal challenge against Alberta Health Services (“AHS”), an Alberta hospital and six doctors who removed her from a high priority organ transplant waiting list because she refused the Covid-19 vaccine.

Ms. Lewis filed her court application asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear her case in January 2023. She is dying of a terminal illness. She has been challenging the constitutionality of Covid-19 vaccine requirements for transplant candidates put in place by AHS, an Alberta Hospital, and six transplant doctors, for more than a year. She was unsuccessful at both the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal in 2022, with both levels of court finding that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”) does not apply to the Covid-19 vaccine policies of AHS, the Alberta Hospital where she would receive her transplant, or her transplant doctors. Both courts also dismissed her claims under The Alberta Bill of Rights.

This case is under a publication ban. Due to a Court Order, the Justice Centre may not reveal the names of the doctors, the hospital, the city where the transplant program is located, or the name of the organ that Ms. Lewis needs for life-saving surgery.

“Ms. Lewis is deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear her case,” stated Allison Pejovic, legal counsel for Ms. Lewis. “She had hoped that justice would prevail in the courts for herself and other unvaccinated transplant candidates across Canada. Unfortunately, her constitutional challenge has ended today, while the unscientific Covid-19 vaccine mandate persists with no end in sight,” Ms. Pejovic continued.

**Ms. Lewis’ legal battle for lifesaving surgery is not yet over. Ms. Lewis recently filed a separate legal action grounded in negligence against AHS, an Alberta hospital, and the transplant doctors due to their decision to remove her from the high priority transplant list due to her failure to take the Covid-19 vaccines, especially now that she is able to demonstrate that she has robust natural immunity to Covid-19. She is accusing them of medical malpractice, and will ask the court at an upcoming injunction hearing to grant an immediate reinstatement to the high priority transplant list pending the result of the negligence action. In this separate legal action, she is being represented by legal counsel Umar Sheikh at Sheikh Law.

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