The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) filed a constitutional challenge against the Ontario government over the implementation of vaccine passports, which were mandated in the province's Superior Court of Justice.
The JCCF said in a statement released on Monday that the challenge is brought on behalf of eight Ontarians who "who are exercising their Charter rights and freedoms by not taking one or more doses of the Covid vaccine."
Among those refusing doses of the vaccine are Sarah Lamb of Kitchener, Ontario, who says she had a severe reaction from taking the first dose, and has since decided to not get the second dose. Lamb says she has been unable to obtain a medical exemption.
"With respect to owners of businesses and organizations, the vaccine passports compel them to enforce unconstitutional laws, as well as laws that would typically be considered to violate human rights legislation. Ontarians should not be forced to discriminate and exclude others from society on the basis of a personal and private medical decision," wrote JCCF lawyer Jorge Pineda in the statement.
"Ontario’s vaccine passport laws were introduced on September 22, 2021 and prohibit individuals from entering restaurants, gyms and other establishments unless they are 'fully vaccinated' as defined by the Government. As of October 20, 2021, individuals will be required to produce government issued QR Codes on a smart phone in order to obtain everyday services the government has arbitrarily deemed 'non-essential,'" the statement reads.
"Ontario Premier Doug Ford has claimed that the vaccine passport 'give us the best chance to slow the spread of this virus while helping us avoid further lockdowns.' However, the government does not dispute that vaccinated people spread viruses. Further, vaccine manufacturers have only promised that those receiving the new mRNA vaccines will suffer less severe symptoms; no promise was made that vaccines stop the spread."
Businesses and organizations that do not enforce these new restrictions are liable to fines of up to $10,000,000 and business owners are being threatened with imprisonment for up to one year, the JCCF writes.
Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee the rights and freedoms of Canadians. "The Supreme Court of Canada has found that the Charter protects the right to bodily autonomy and informed consent, this is the law, and it is indisputable. The vaccine passport is a brazen attempt to subvert the Charter and to render its protections meaningless," Mr. Pineda wrote.
"The Ontario vaccine passport itself is an instrument of coercion that pressures individuals to submit to a medical intervention, contrary to their will and their own best judgment," adds Mr. Pineda.
"Not only is this ethically wrong, it is also illegal. When we get before the Court, we will be urging that they see these vaccine mandates for what they really do – which is take away the long-standing rights of citizens to make informed decisions about their own medical care."