Judge rejects B.C. government’s bid to drop case against COVID-19 vaccine orders
A B.C. court judge has rejected the provincial government’s bid to have a case against its COVID-19 vaccine orders for health-care workers thrown out.
In a Wednesday decision, Justice Simon Coval dismissed the provincial health officer’s argument that the petitioners lack legal standing in the matter, finding instead they have a “public interest standing.”
The petition, which seeks to quash the double-immunization orders, is a “reasonable” way to bring forward important health-care issues that “transcend the interests of those directly involved,” he wrote.
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Last October, Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered staff in the bulk of health-care settings — including hospitals, long-term care homes and clinics — be fully-vaccinated to work on-site.
The non-profit Canadian Society for the Advancement of Science in Public Policy (CSASPP) argues the mandate is unconstitutional, and fails to accommodate people with religious objections, vaccination risks, immunity from prior infection, and a recent, negative COVID-19 test result.
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It requested a reconsideration of the orders in November, presenting a suite of safety alternatives and examples of jurisdictions with less restrictive approaches. The provincial health officer refused, however, claiming it sought exemptions on non-medical grounds.
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Henry’s lawyers argued the CSASPP’s petition does not present a serious issue to the court as it contains “no adjudicative facts.” The advocacy group, they claimed, is a “purpose-built anti-COVID-19 measures entity,” and it has no history of involved in the issues identified in its petition.
The CSASPP claims an estimated 41 of its 170 members work in a health-care setting.
In his decision, Coval found the group satisfied “genuine interest” and engagement tests in the matter, evidenced primarily through the work it put into its November reconsideration request. The less intrusive safety measures it presented in that request raise “substantial questions” that are “clearly not frivolous,” he wrote.
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