B.C. court launches Charter challenge by Quesnel city workers fired for vax warrant

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has dismissed a legal challenge by a group of Quesnel city workers who were fired for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

However, the court did not rule on the constitutionality of the municipality’s mandate, but rather dismissed it as lacking jurisdiction.

The workers were members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and therefore matters, such as dismissal, covered by their collective agreement must be decided through grievance and arbitration procedures under the Labor Relations Code. work, judge Nathan Smith ruled.

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Lawyers for the plaintiff argued that despite the provisions of the labor code, the case fell to the court because the mandate of the vaccine was aimed at a broader « social or collective good » and not just the relationship between employer and employee, and that the workers had no expectation that they’d be treated fairly in the grievance process because of « the animosity shown to unvaccinated people in Canada ».

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Smith rejected both arguments.

Click to play video: “Four COVID-19 Court Cases Dismissed by British Columbia Supreme Court”

Four COVID-19 court cases dismissed by BC Supreme Court

“The plaintiffs submit that they raise serious and novel questions of law which are of general importance and which are beyond the jurisdiction of an arbitration board. These issues include the legality of vaccination requirements instituted by employers, the constitutionality of such requirements if imposed by the government, and the necessity or effectiveness of vaccines,” Smith said.

« Plaintiffs may be correct that some or all of the issues they seek to raise must be litigated, but it is still necessary that the issues be brought before the court in a properly framed action to raise them. »

Smith went on to say that the dismissed workers’ complaint goes to the « very heart of collective bargaining » because there are « few aspects of a collective agreement as fundamental » as just cause for dismissal.

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He noted that the workers filed the lawsuit individually as former city employees and did not purport to represent anyone else in a certified class action or as purely public interest litigants.

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The broader general rights and policy issues the plaintiffs seek to raise are “too closely related to collectively bargained rights to be reasonably separated,” the ruling party says.

A further claim against the province was dismissed because it had no legal share in their employment.

However, he did not rule out a future legal challenge, if argued differently.

« The plaintiffs clearly wish to challenge provincial policies and recommendations which they say have impacted employees of ‘countless other businesses,' » Smith wrote.

“There is probably a cause of action and a form of procedure that would allow them to do this, but an action in which they seek damages arising from their loss of employment with the city is not one that properly raises these questions. »

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