Mar. 20, 2022

Tam says government is examining all vaccine mandates

John Paul Tasker of CBC News reports that Canada’s chief public health officer said Friday the federal government is actively reviewing all of its vaccine mandates with an eye to ending rules that force some people to get their COVID-19 shots. Dr. Theresa Tam said the country’s public health officials are at a “very important juncture” and COVID-19 policies may soon shift from “an emphasis on requirements to recommendations.” FULL REPORT HERE.
   

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There is a flaw in Dr. Tam’s arguments. It is highly likely that vaccine mandates are unlawful. I refer to Supreme Court of Canada cases as an example,  Cuthbertson v. Rasouli, 2013 SCC 53, [2013] 3 S.C.R. 341

Quoting from dissenting opinion by Abella and Karakatsanis JJ:
“The HCCA codifies and builds upon the common law of consent in Ontario.  It is designed to give effect to the principle of patient autonomy - a principle with deep roots in our common law - that permits a patient to refuse medical treatment, no matter the consequences.  The scheme of the Act ensures that when treatment is proposed, doctors, substitute decision-makers and the Board are all bound by the patient’s known wishes, if clear and applicable.  This is true for all treatments; there are no special provisions for end‑of‑life scenarios.”

Government insistence that our rights and freedoms are confined to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is inaccurate.

The Bill of Rights and common law precedents are still at play in parallel with the Charter. My understanding is that the common law right to refuse medical treatment stands valid without reference to the Charter.

Arguments that Section 1 of the Charter may be utilized to skirt the protection under Section 7 are superfluous as the right to refuse medical treatment is rooted in common law.

This is my understanding of our laws. I am not a lawyer and do not provide legal advice. However, when Supreme Court judges explain the application of law, it is worthwhile to pay attention.