The Justice Centre represented a pregnant student who was suspended from her university program after deciding against the Covid vaccine. Her doctor advised her that her pregnancy was at high-risk for reasons unrelated to Covid and recommended that she complete her mandatory internship virtually, which was allowed by the curriculum.
However, the University of Ottawa refused to accommodate her, falsely claiming that she was trying to circumvent the vaccination policy and that there were no places available for a virtual internship.
Throughout the process, U of O made little to no effort to find a mutually acceptable solution, the student alleges, and refused to justify its decisions in light of the facts of the case.
“It is clear that the University of Ottawa did not intend to follow the ‘reasonable accommodation’ basic criteria set out by the Supreme Court of Canada more than 15 years ago,” notes Samuel Bachand senior external counsel for the Justice Centre in the province of Québec.
After negotiations and discussions with lawyers from the Justice Centre, the student managed to find a suitable placement for virtual internship on her own, which was finally approved by the University.
“The brazenness and bad faith of the University in this matter are appalling. There are clearly, among the people in authority there, bureaucrats who are willing to sacrifice the mission of their institution to irrational health concerns,” comments Mr. Bachand,
“It is well accepted in the scientific community that the Covid vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission of the virus. There was no basis for the vaccine mandate at the University of Ottawa or any other post-secondary institution given that being vaccinated confers no special status or protection,” concludes Mr. Bachand.