Military personnel challenge vaccine requirements in federal court

Ottawa β€” Federal Courts will hear discussions today from four members of the Canadian Army facing disciplinary action for refusing to vaccinate COVID-19.

Chief of Defense Wayne Eyre has ordered all military members to be vaccinated by the end of November or face corrective action, including dismissal from the military. After that, the deadline was extended to December 18th.

This order follows similar requirements for all federal civil servants, as the Free Government has sought to set an example for all Canadians to be vaccinated. Eyre also said his orders were aimed at protecting the army during a pandemic.

The affidavit states that four military personnel who disagree with the order oppose vaccination for a variety of reasons, including long-term safety and religious reasons.

“I’m not confident in the government’s declaration that they are’safe and effective’,” said Lieutenant Colonel. Iro Antonio Neri says. “More specifically, I don’t think the trial accurately discovered and evaluated all the potential long-term effects of the vaccine.”

Eyre’s order grants tax exemptions for medical, religious and human rights reasons, but Edmonton’s lawyer Catherine Kristensen, who represents the four military personnel, has been denied all their requests by the Canadian press. Said that.

Not only are constitutional rights violated, but four military personnel claim that the threat of dismissal is enormous.

“While at the CAF, I saw members convicted of serious crimes and not removed from service,” Warrant Officer Morgan Christopher Warren said in an affidavit.

Government lawyers have submitted hundreds of pages of documents to support their claim that vaccines are safe and effective. They also argued that if four military personnel were dissatisfied, they should file a complaint with the military.

However, Kristensen argues that it is inappropriate given that the order was delivered by the Supreme Commander of the Army. If the federal court grants a request for a temporary injunction, she will apply to the court to fully hear the case.

Members of the four armies are not the first to challenge federal vaccine requirements. Earlier this month, federal courts refused to give injunctions to dozens of federal officials facing the possibility of dismissal for refusing to fire.

Defense Ministry spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier reports that about 98% of service members have been vaccinated, with the majority of those who have not yet reported being in reserve or on vacation.

An additional 800 members have applied for medical, religious and human rights exemptions, but the number of approved members is unknown as authorities continue to increase the number of people seeking vaccination by the December 18 deadline. It was.

Le Bouthillier said the military would not dismiss any members “until the corrective actions were exhausted” and that the first of these forced dismissals would not be expected until January due to “administrative delays required in the process”. rice field.

β€œAt any point during the process, members can change their minds and be vaccinated. At that point, members will be compliant with the CDS Directive and need to consider corrective action conclusions.”

By Lee Berthiaume

Canadian press