Federal Court Judge Rejects Travel Vaccine Mandates Lawsuits Over ‘Mootness’

Federal Court Judge Rejects Travel Vaccine Mandates Lawsuits Over ‘Mootness’
An Air Canada jet takes off from Trudeau Airport in Montreal on June 30, 2022. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)
Noé Chartier

A judge in the federal court rejected on Thursday the four lawsuits challenging the government’s travel vaccine mandate by citing “mootness.”

Justice Jocelyne Gagné published a short decision that didn't explain her rationale, saying it would come at a later date.

Gagné ruled in favour of a mootness motion brought forward by the attorney general (AG) on June 28, eight days after the federal government lifted its domestic vaccine mandate for planes, trains, and some marine vessels.

Millions of unvaccinated Canadians were unable to use these means of transportation starting October 2021, or to leave the country given U.S. border restrictions.

The AG’s motion argued that since the mandate had expired, it did not exist as law and hence a court ruling on the matter would have “no practical effect.”

Challengers to the mandate pleaded that dismissing their case would allow the government to impose controversial measures and argue mootness to avoid accountability.

The challengers have four different lawsuits. One includes businessmen Karl Harrison and Shaun Rickard, and another former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford and co-applicants. PPC Leader Maxime Bernier also filed, along with Quebec lawyer Nabil Belkacem.

Gagné heard arguments from all the parties during an in-person hearing on Sept. 21. With the delay in providing her decision and the court hearings slated to begin on Oct. 31, it gave hope to some of the applicants that the hearing would go ahead.

Rickard earlier on Oct. 20 was encouraging supporters to sign up on the federal court website to watch the hearing, but his mood changed later when the ruling came down.

“We were totally blindsided,” Rickard told The Epoch Times.

He and Harrison released a statement in the evening, indicating they will work to appeal the decision.

“We are disappointed with the decision and, subject to the reasons when given, we will look to commence work immediately on an appeal,” says the statement.

“That appeal will also allow us to challenge the way mootness is used in Canada to facilitate poor government policy to avoid legal scrutiny; to allow the judiciary to shirk their responsibilities, and to deny justice to Canadians.”

The legal proceedings for the cases brought to the surface many revelations about the travel vaccine mandate through the cross-examination of government witnesses.

It was revealed that federal public health officials never made a direct recommendation for a mandate, that ethics were not considered before imposing the mandate, and that the risk of in-flight transmission of a respiratory virus was assessed as low by the government.
The federal government also had limited data on the impact of vaccination to stop in-flight transmission, and used the mandate to drive vaccine uptake.