Lawyers for a group of federal officials are crossing swords in court with those for the Canadian government over the choice before them: get vaccinated against COVID-19, or lose their jobs.
Those who challenge the federal policy seek Tuesday to have it suspended while awaiting the due process, during which they will ask that it be struck down.
From the outset, one of the two lawyers of the 200 or so public servants said that the main objective of federal policy is not to ensure the safety of public service employees, but rather ” to make it clear to the Canadian population that everyone must be vaccinated, ”pleaded Mr.e Michael N. Bergman.
And then, the vaccine policy is full of contradictions: why do those who work from home have to be inoculated? he asked, saying they pose no risk to their colleagues yet.
Mandatory … for this job
The state refuses alternatives, such as frequent screening tests, and prefers “coercion”, insisted Mr.e Bergman.
This vaccination obligation violates the right of citizens to the inviolability of their body, which is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, added the prosecutor.
“But no one is required to be vaccinated,” retorted Federal Court Judge Simon Fothergill. On the other hand, if a civil servant wishes to remain in the employ of the government, he must raise his sleeve, underlined the magistrate.
But they will lose their jobs, which are essential for food and shelter, the civil servants’ lawyer replied.
“I am not sure that there is a right to a specific job” questioned the judge, who also added: “Your clients ask to be protected from the consequences of their decision”.
In addition, shouldn’t this matter be the subject of a grievance rather within the framework of labor relations mechanisms? he asked.
Lawyers for the officials have also filed numerous affidavits from their clients detailing their fears of the COVID-19 vaccine, including that of suffering anaphylactic shock. They believe that the negative effects of this vaccine are underreported by authorities.
The other lawyer representing the group of officials, Mr.e Daniel Romano, argued that vaccinated people can still transmit COVID-19 to others. And that they are even more likely to transmit the virus because they have fewer symptoms, often going to work or to restaurants because they do not know they are infected.
In short, frequent screening tests would be more effective, argued Mr.e Romano.
The Canadian government claims it is saving the country, “but it is doing it badly and even making the situation worse,” he added.
For officials, there is no turning back if they are vaccinated: “we can not remove it,” said Me Bergman. This is why, according to him, it is preferable to wait until this question of the validity of the vaccination policy is settled by a trial. In the meantime, suspending the vaccine policy is the preferable route, he says.