Health-care worker arbitrarily denied employment insurance seeks judicial review

Upholding religious convictions is not employee misconduct, and conflating it with such offences as substance abuse within the workplace is unjust.

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A terminated health-care worker is seeking judicial review that saw her employment insurance (EI) benefits denied by the federal government due to alleged non-compliance with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Rebecca Abdo was a medical laboratory technologist with Canadian Blood Services at the time of her termination. She did not have direct patient contact and conducted her laboratory analysis work alone in her office.

After trying to jump through all of her employers hoops while trying to obtain a religious exemption to this indiscriminate injection mandate, Abdo had her claim denied and then her record of employment — which denoted that she engaged in misconduct — allowed for denial of EI benefits.

When the COVID-19 vaccine mandates came about in the fall of 2021, less than a year after they had been authorized under emergency use legislation by Health Canada, the federal government released clarification around record of employment codes for employees in light of all things COVID pandemonium.

The website reads:

When the employee doesn't report to work because they refuse to comply with your mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, use code E (quit) or code N (leave of absence).

When you suspend or terminate an employee for not complying with your mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, use code M (dismissal or suspension).

If you use these codes, we may contact you to determine:

1. If you had adopted and clearly communicated to all employees a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy

2. If the employees were informed that failure to comply with the policy would result in loss of employment

3. If the application of the policy to the employee was reasonable within the workplace context

4. If there were any exemptions for refusing to comply with the policy.

Yet many sought religious exemptions, were arbitrarily denied, and then further denied EI benefits they paid into for their entire working lives based on a personal medical decision that ran contrary to the COVID regimes' medical-industrial complex.

Abdo's lawyer, James Kitchen from Liberty Coalition Canada, who is providing her with free legal defence, discusses the judicial review application at length. He notes that religious faith does not constitute employee misconduct and cannot be conflated with working under the influence or other necessary workplace safety infractions.

This is a drop in the hat of similar occurrences.

Nurse Katherine was denied her number one social determinate of health — income — after abiding by her religious convictions.

Another terminated health-care worker, Robin Bigger, was affected similarly. She also had no direct patient contact and even had a pre-existing vaccine exemption on file with hospital administrators predating 2020.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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