Former B.C. justice minister opposes vaccine mandates

Suzanne Anton, then B.C. justice minister from 2013 to 2017, endorsed a December 14 ruling against Purolator over its 'invalid' COVID jab mandate — calling it a potential 'game changer' for B.C.’s fired unvaccinated healthcare workers.

Former B.C. justice minister opposes vaccine mandates
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A recent case ruling against Purolator’s COVID jab mandate has invalidated compelled vaccination and entitles unvaccinated workers who were fired to compensation, says British Columbia’s former attorney general.

On September 15, 2021, Purolator compelled vaccination from its workforce, giving staff until December 25 to comply. The full policy went into effect on January 10, 2022, reported Todayville.

Suzanne Anton, then justice minister from 2013 to 2017, endorsed a December 14 ruling against the company — calling it a potential "game changer."

Arbitrator Nicholas Glass said, "the grievances complained that the grievors were improperly terminated or placed on involuntary unpaid leaves of absence." He called the jab mandate not "valid" due to diminished efficacy against the Omnicon variant in 2022, among other reasons.

"It is the first time that a decision maker has gone down this road of, first of all, ordering compensation, that I know of," said Anton. Purolator must now compensate unvaccinated hourly employees with lost benefits and wages incurred between July 1, 2022, and May 1, 2023.

The former attorney general contends the ruling could also aid B.C.’s fired unvaccinated healthcare workers in their challenge of the mandate.

"It’s been my view for some time," she said, "that mandate issues need to be properly litigated, and this case shows the startling results which can develop when a well-informed arbitrator or judge has good evidence to work from."

Anton called the jab mandate "political," and says the people she talks to "are really surprised that they’re still fired." 

Last November, at least hundreds of unvaccinated healthcare workers who lost their jobs during the COVID pandemic filed a class-action lawsuit against provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. 

According to court documents filed last October 13, the plaintiffs tabled the action "on behalf of members of the class consisting of all unionized healthcare workers in British Columbia who have been subject to the COVID-19 vaccination status information and preventative measures order." 

It asserts Henry undermined their contractual employment agreements when she issued the public health order on October 14, 2021.

The plaintiffs claim Henry "acted with reckless indifference or willful blindness" by continuing to enforce the order.

According to the suit, Henry called the vaccination "safe, very effective, and the single most important preventive measure for health professionals […] to protect patients, residents and clients, and the health and personal care workforce, from […] COVID-19."

However, the suit notes adverse side effects in 5,770 of 18,198 individuals (26.7%) who took the jab.

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