Treasury Board Officials Warned of Legal Action Over Vaccine Mandates

Treasury Board Officials Warned of Legal Action Over Vaccine Mandates
President of the Treasury Board Mona Fortier rises during Question Period in Ottawa on Dec. 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand)
Andrew Chen

An advocacy group representing federal and federally-regulated employees is warning senior officials at Canada’s Treasury Board that Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates unjustifiably violate their clients’ human rights and may trigger legal action.

On Jan. 26, lawyers for Feds For Freedom, a not-for-profit advocacy organization for public servants, issued a ‘cease and desist’ letter to several senior officials at the official employer of federal public servants, the Treasury Board of Canada, warning that federal vaccine mandates are “unjustifiable, unconstitutional, and criminal in nature.”

Feds For Freedom are representing a group of employees who “face unauthorized or unrequested Leave without Pay which is indistinguishable from termination for non-compliance” as the result of the federal government’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. 

“As federal public servants, we have had our livelihoods stripped from us; we have endured unprecedented amounts [of] stress and hardships. We have been harassed, ridiculed, mocked and had hatred and violence incited against us. This type of abusive behavior cannot and will not be tolerated,” the advocacy group said in a Jan. 26 press release.

The treasury officials put on notice include President Mona Fortier, Secretary of the Treasury Board Peter Wallace, and Chief Human Resources Officer Christine Donoghue, plus all departmental ministers of Canada’s Core Public Administration (CPA), including the RCMP.

On Oct. 6, 2021, the federal government announced the policy requiring federal public servants in the CPA to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 21, 2021.

Feds For Freedom noted that an individual’s bodily autonomy, informed consent, and freedom from coercion, intimidation, or bullying are fundamental rights. They threatened to take legal action, file multiple human rights claims, and make applications “seeking injunctive relief and punitive damages” if the federal government moves to suspend or terminate the employees.

Federal employees that the group represents have raised concerns about “coercion by the Government of Canada to submit to experimental drug therapies” like the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 injections.

In May 2021, Health Canada authorized clinical trials for Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty and Moderna’s Spikevax COVID-19 vaccines, with the study’s estimated completion date set in April 2023.

Feds For Freedom also cite the Nuremberg Code—a set of ethical principles that limit medical experimentation on humans—saying that unvaccinated Canadians have “their civil and statutory rights of privacy violated on a daily basis by being forced to disclose their vaccine status.”

“Employers are legally obliged to respect the autonomy and dignity of their employees to respect the confidentiality of their medical information, even after the employee has died; and to not use medical knowledge to violate the human rights and civil liberties of their employees, even under threat from Government authority,” the group said.

“Forcing experimental drug injection therapies upon the Government of Canada employees under threat of loss of livelihood is a clear violation of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Government of Canada’s own Constitution.”