vax pass

Credit: Janella Hamilton/CBC News

A legal challenge to British Columbia’s vaccine passport program is being filed by the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF).

“The BC vaccine passport system is discriminatory on its face, because it does not include automatic exemptions for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons,” said CCF litigation director, Christine Van Geyn.

The policy, officially called the “BC Vaccine Card” restricts entry to various public spaces to only those who show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

The CCF claims to be working with several individuals on a challenge to the policy for failing to create medical exemptions. They go as follows:

  • A teenage girl who developed heart inflammation after her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. She is ineligible for a second dose.
  • A woman who developed nerve damage following her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, leaving her arm partially paralyzed. She is now pregnant, and her neurologist has advised her not to get a second dose, due to the risk of further nerve damage, including damage that could impact her unborn baby.
  • A woman who has complex and overlapping disabilities underwent approximately 15 surgeries, and who is contraindicated for numerous medications. Due to her complex medical situation and the lack of information about how the COVID-19 vaccine may interact in the body of a person with her unique set of disabilities, and her past drug reactions, she is at heightened risk of a serious reaction to the vaccine.

The CCF says its first step in the challenge will be a “request for a reconsideration of the current regime under the public health orders dated September 10,” and will be requesting the government create “categorical exemptions” for certain medial conditions.

“Our hope is the government acquiesces and makes the process of obtaining medical exemptions simpler and easier,” said BC lawyer Geoffrey Trotter, who is representing the CCF.

“The individuals who need medical accommodation are already facing enough challenges in their daily lives, the government shouldn’t be making their lives even harder.”

While the CCF challenge attempts to make BC’s vaccine passport system accessible to those with potential medical exemptions, it does not strive to abolish the system as a whole. If successful, restaurant patrons must still provide their server with medical information prior to ordering a brisket.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard

Reporter (BC)

Reid Small is a BC Reporter for the Western Standard and West Coast Standard based in the Vancouver Bureau. He has worked as a freelance photojournalist and in independent media.

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