The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is demanding a New Brunswick grocery outlet reverse its policy that bans unvaccinated people from shopping there.
The JCCF sent the City of Fredericton a demand letter in relation to its vaccinated-only policy at the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market.
The New Brunswick government owns the landmark farmer’s market and leases it to the city at a nominal rate. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies because this is not private property, but property owned and managed by government, said the JCCF in a release.
The farmer’s market announced that as of Dec. 11, 2021, “proof of double vaccination (or medical exemption) will be required to shop indoors, for all visitors 12 and over.”
The policy, which is the first of its kind in Canada that excludes citizens from purchasing grocery essentials on the basis of vaccination status, claims it relies on “public health guidelines.”
The JCCF already sent a demand letter to the Minister of Justice of New Brunswick warning the government’s new public health order of December 4 — allowing private businesses to deny services to vaccine-free Canadians — was unconstitutional.
The JCCF said the order implicitly invites grocery stores to decide for themselves whether to require vaccination of customers as a condition for entry. The JCCF warning letter noted the right to food is a fundamental human right enshrined in various international instruments.
“Our position remains the same in relation to any government denying or inviting private businesses to deny Canadians who have not taken the COVID vaccine to an essential service, such as the purchase of food. Any such act is an unconscionable violation of the Charter and has no scientific or legal justification,” said JCCF lawyer Andre Memauri.
“Vaccine-free citizens have a right to purchase food, including at markets and grocery stores, and the denial of such essential service is a reprehensible and unlawful act of cruelty and discrimination.”
The three Members of Parliament representing New Brunswick — John Williamson, Rob Moore, and Richard Bragdon — released statements condemning the province’s winter action plan which gave retailers and grocery stores permission to refuse vaccine-free Canadians.
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