The long-awaited report by a citizen-led pandemic inquiry says to restore public trust in the judiciary, decisions on Covid cases need a thorough review.

The National Citizens Inquiry released its final report Tuesday, a 5,324 page document with dozens of recommendations for lawmakers, public institutions, and citizens.

The report, compiled by four independent commissioners, addresses the extensive impact of the pandemic and government response on all segments of Canadian society.

“The policy, legal, and health authority interventions into the lives of Canadians, our families, businesses, and communities were, and to a great extent remain, significant,” said one of the commissioners, engineer Kenneth Drysdale, highlighting the widespread effects of the pandemic response.

The report describes the profound damage done to Canadian society by governments’ Covid measures, illustrated through testimony from people who experienced adverse vaccine reactions, disruption of livelihoods and education, impaired mental health, reputational damage, professional discipline and censorship. 

The expert witnesses used in the report include doctors, scientists, lawyers, economists, teachers, psychologists, morticians, risk management analysts, and experts in public policy, emergency management, occupational health and safety, aviation safety, pharmacy, policing, and journalism. 

The National Citizens Inquiry had 24 days of hearings in eight cities, during which commissioners heard testimony from 300 witnesses. The inquiry issued what it calls ‘subpoenas’ to 63 members of government and regulatory bodies, but none of them appeared.

“These testimonies provide irrefutable evidence that an unprecedented assault has been waged against the citizens of Canada. Not since World War II has the nation experienced such a devastating attack on its people,” said Drysdale. 

The independent inquiry was citizen-led and funded. It was deliberately structured to be impartial, unbiased, and free from political influence, with no funding from the government or large corporate backers. 

The four commissioners were Drysdale, an executive engineer; Heather DiGregorio, a senior partner in a law firm; Janice Kaikkonen, an educator and elected school board trustee; and Bernard Massie, an independent consultant in biotechnology. 

The NCI’s report outlines the need for a full judicial investigation of the authorization process for Covid-19 vaccinations in Canada, potentially exploring criminal liability under existing Canadian law.

“A full judicial investigation of the process under which the COVID-19 vaccinations were authorized in Canada must be carried out,” the report demands.

It also calls for a thorough review of the Canadian courts’ handling of pandemic-related cases to rebuild public confidence in the justice system.

Further, the report recommends examining and reforming the extent of executive authority during emergencies and establishing clear frameworks for public health authorities’ decision-making processes, balancing public health needs with individual rights and freedoms.

In terms of healthcare, the report emphasizes safeguarding healthcare professionals’ freedom of expression and conducting an independent inquiry into the governance of professional colleges, especially those governing medical professionals.

In the education and labour sectors, the NCI insists on maintaining in-person learning as the primary mode of education, with remote learning as a contingency, and calls for a review of labour laws to protect employees during health emergencies.

Additionally, the report highlights the importance of supporting vulnerable populations during crises, the necessity of informed consent in medical treatments, and the development of a Judicial Panel to investigate human rights violations during the pandemic.

The report also proposes the establishment of a National Crisis Oversight Council (NCOC) to monitor and investigate government actions during crises and calls for a national dialogue on the church’s role in society, emphasizing the need for policy watch to protect the rights and freedoms of faith groups. 

“The establishment of the National Crisis Oversight Council (NCOC) is essential to safeguard democratic principles, protect individual rights, and maintain public trust during future emergencies, such as pandemics. The NCOC will serve as an independent, multi-disciplinary body tasked with monitoring, policing, and investigating government actions during crises,” read the report.

“The attempt to silence religious speech over the last three years should not go unnoticed.”