TORONTO: The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) is concerned about the Manitoba government’s discriminatory vaccine passports and has written to the provincial government to ask them to end the policy.
In a letter addressed to the Manitoba Premier, Minister of Health, Attorney General, and Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, the CCF has outlined concerns regarding the section 15 and section 7 Charter rights of people in Manitoba. In particular, the letter outlines concerns about the failure of the vaccine passport policy to accommodate individuals who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.
“The Manitoba health orders and the Manitoba Immunization Card restrict access to certain public spaces to only people who are fully vaccinated. There are many people in Manitoba, and indeed across Canada, who wish they could be vaccinated but cannot be because of a medical condition,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn.
In the letter to the Manitoba government, the CCF outline the story of Sarah, a resident of Winnipeg who developed pericarditis (heart inflammation) following her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Because of her adverse reaction, Sarah’s primary care provider has advised her against getting the second dose of any COVID-19 vaccine and she is ineligible for an Immunization Card.
“I’ve spoken to people who have had adverse reactions to the vaccine. Who have complex anaphylaxis, blood clotting disorders, auto-immune disorders, and pre-existing heart conditions, like pre-existing heart inflammation. For these patients, both the vaccine and COVID may present a higher risk than it does for a healthy person. They must make difficult and deeply personal trade-offs about their health. It is inappropriate for the government to try to force an outcome in one direction through policies like vaccine passports,” continued Van Geyn.
“The Manitoba vaccine passport discriminates against people on the basis of their disabilities by denying them access to public spaces, and we’ve asked the government to end this discrimination. If they refuse, we are prepared to litigate,” continued Van Geyn.