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A genuinely held belief opposing government rules regarding vaccination could be a political belief within the meaning of the Human Rights Code

British Columbia

,

Canada

In Complainant obo Class of Persons v. John Horgan, 2021 BCHRT 120 (CanLII), the complainant filed a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) on behalf of herself and people who were “opposed to being forced into getting the COVID-19 Vaccination” and getting their “basic human rights and freedoms stripped” from them. The complaint related to the Government of British Columbia’s announcement on August 23, 2021, that individuals would be required to provide proof of vaccination to access a broad range of social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province. The complaint alleged that the Government’s conduct discriminated based on the ground of political belief contrary to s. 13 of the Code, likely because political belief is only a ground of discrimination in relation to employment, employment advertisements, and membership in employment-related organizations such as unions.

The Tribunal accepted that a genuinely held belief opposing government rules regarding vaccination could be a political belief within the meaning of the Code (para 11). However, protection from discrimination based on political belief did not exempt a person from following provincial health orders or rules (para 11). It protects a person from adverse impacts in their employment based on their beliefs (para 11).

The complainant did not identify how the August 23, 2021, announcement by the Government had affected her, or anyone else who objected to it, in their employment (para 12). Without allegations of an actual adverse impact experienced by the proposed class in their employment, the complaint could not be established to breach the Code. Accordingly, the complaint was dismissed (para 13).

April 14, 2022
Complainant obo Class of Persons v. John Horgan, 2021 BCHRT 120 (CanLII)