BC public servants group initiates class action lawsuit over vaccine mandate

A needle and vaccine
A needle and vaccineCourtesy Unsplash

The BCPS Employees for Freedom Society (BCPSEFS) has launched a class action lawsuit against the British Columbia Public Service (BCPS) over its vaccine mandate for employees. 

Applicant Jason Baldwin’s lawsuit is against the BC government and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, according to a Wednesday press release. 

BCPSEFS said Baldwin has filed the lawsuit because the vaccine mandate, which was enacted by executive order of BC's cabinet, was contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and violated their medical privacy and bodily autonomy. 

While the action is being brought by one applicant, it said it is intended for all unionized BCPS employees harmed by the vaccine mandate. As such, it has the potential to assert the rights of tens of thousands of unionized public servants. 

The lawsuit alleges Henry committed the tort of malfeasance by having no basis in fact to justify the information, data and advice she provided and upon which BC relied to develop its employee vaccination policy and ignoring known potential risks of adverse events associated with COVID-19 vaccines when advising the province. 

It claims BC violated employees’ freedom of association guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that forced disclosure of private medical information violated common law and statutory privacy rights. 

Baldwin is seeking compensation through an award for aggravated and punitive damages. He has retained Sheikh Law lawyer Umar Sheikh to represent him in this matter. 

The BC government told public servants in March they would no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

With this decision, the BC Ministry of Finance said the vaccine mandate was being rescinded because of a high level of vaccination among BCPS where more than 98% of workers had been vaccinated.

It said a total of 314 employees were terminated for non-compliance and about 175 workers were put on an unpaid leave under the policy.

BCPSEFS said in March the vaccine mandate for public sector employees did not serve its purpose and was unnecessary after it was announced it would be scrapped. 

READ MORE: BC public service workers criticize vaccine mandate repeal

“The vaccines were not effective, did not stop infection/transmission and caused many harmful adverse reactions,” it said. 

“The mandate sowed division, discrimination, and fear.”

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