Mount Royal University students doing their studies online will no longer have to disclose their vaccination status.

The Calgary university bowed to legal pressure after a student, represented by legal advocacy agency Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, challenged the policy.

On September 20, 2021, MRU emailed an exclusively online student warning him that even though his classes aren’t on campus, he had one day to upload proof of vaccination or face the risk he “may be deregistered” from classes. 

The email said that if he declared as “unvaccinated,” he would be sent information on how to participate in the Rapid Testing Program. Other students who received similar emails also contacted the JCCF.

Two days after receiving the ultimatum, the student notified by email that a hold had been placed on his online university account.

“In order for Mount Royal University to comply with Public Health orders issued by the Province of Alberta, you MUST submit your online COVID-19 vaccine declaration… All students, whether studying in person or online, must declare their vaccination status,” the email said.

On Sept. 23, the JCCF sent a letter to MRU on behalf of the student, warning that MRU’s policy violated students’ privacy, Charter and human rights. The letter threatened legal action if MRU proceeded with deregistering online students. 

 “The entirely unnecessary requirement for online students to disclose their vaccination is indicative of the irrational abuse of power public authorities are exercising in the current atmosphere of pandemonium. It is essential that people stand up and push back against these abuses of power,” said JCCF lawyer Mary Moore.

On September 27, 2021, MRU emailed the student confirming that the student’s access to his online MRU would be restored on September 29, 2021. The email did not mention MRU’s prior vaccine requirement for online students.

“The intimidation and coercion being exercised by public institutions such as Mount Royal University to demand disclosure of personal medical information is unjustified and unacceptable,” added Moore.