The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has announced that they have filed a constitutional challenge against Ontario’s vaccine passport mandate in the province’s Superior Court of Justice.

The JCCF believes the province’s vaccine passport violates Canada’s Charter Rights and Freedoms.

“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,” said Staff Lawyer at the JCCF Jorge Pineda.

“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.”

The legal challenge comes after the JCCF sent a warning letter to the Ontario Government on September 22nd with their intentions of filing a lawsuit. 

The JCCF has implemented the legal challenge on behalf of eight Ontario residents who are choosing not to receive one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

One of the eight applicants in the legal challenge is Sarah Lamb from Kitchener. Lamb alleges she had experienced serious side effects after her first dose of the vaccine and has now decided against a second dose. 

The Ontario Government has allowed there to be exemptions from receiving the vaccine in very rare circumstances. However, Lamb has not been able to receive an exemption as she does not meet the criteria set by the government.

“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,” said Pineda.

Premier Ford had originally ruled out the vaccine passports, believing the controversial government document would create a “split society.” However, Ford changed his mind and announced the implementation of a vaccine passport system on September 1st with an implementation day of September 22nd. 

At the time, Ford stated vaccine passports are necessary to keep non-essential businesses and facilities open with the rise of the Delta variant. Ford also claimed that the decision was based on evidence from their medical experts. 

The JCCF aren’t the only ones speaking out against the province’s vaccine passport. The Ontario Government’s Advocate for Community Opportunities Jamil Jivani voiced his opposition to the government’s plan.

“Today’s announcement does not change my views,” said Jivani when Ford originally made the announcement. “I continue to oppose vaccine passports & other measures that create a two-tiered society.” 

Jivani says like many Canadians who oppose vaccine passports, he isn’t “anti-vaxx.” He believes vaccine passports will marginalize people who are already struggling to make ends meet.

As first reported by True North, Statistics provided by Health Canada confirm that black and Indigenous Canadians experience the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy in Canada.

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