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Major Transportation Vaccine Mandate Wasn’t Based On Science, Court Records Show

(Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which prevented travelers from leaving the country or using planes if they weren’t fully vaccinated, wasn’t based on any particular scientific evidence, court records reportedly show.

Court documents unsealed in July show that Canadian transport authorities were scrambling to justify the vaccine mandate in internal communications just days before it went into effect, according to Common Sense. The documents also reportedly revealed that nobody within the COVID Recovery unit at Transport Canada had a formal education in epidemiology or public health.

The head of the COVID Recovery team, Jennifer Little, graduated with a Literature degree from the University of Toronto. She testified that there were 20 members on the team who created the mandate, and just one of them had a background working in public health in any capacity, according to Common Sense.

In October 2021, employees from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Transport Canada exchanged emails about justifying the vaccine mandate. Aaron McCrorie, associate assistant deputy minister for safety and security at Transport Canada, asked Dawn Lumley-Myllari, a public health official, for guidance on justifying the vaccine mandate, according to Common Sense.

“To the extent that updated data exist or that there is clearer evidence of the safety benefit of vaccination on the users or other stakeholders of the transportation system, it would be helpful to assist Transport Canada supporting its measures,” McCrorie reportedly asked.

Two days before Oct. 30, when the mandate was set to go into effect, Lumley-Myllari responded with a list of benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, with no specificity on why a mandate on public transportation was needed, according to Common Sense. (RELATED: Justin Trudeau Is Facing Backlash After Using Authoritarian Tactics Against Protesting Truckers)

Little reportedly declined to share who had ordered Transport Canada to implement a vaccine mandate from the senior levels of Canada’s government, citing “cabinet confidence.” That term suggests someone in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, and even potentially Trudeau himself, was involved in the decision-making process, the outlet continued.

Shaun Rickard and Karl Harrison, the two plaintiffs in the ongoing case, sued Transport Canada last year. When Canada lifted its mandate in June 2022, the government allegedly attempted to have the case dismissed. The plaintiffs’ attorney responded by filing an additional damages motion so the court documents could be unsealed for the sake of transparency, Common Sense noted. Rickard and Harrison were reportedly not interested in financial gain.

“The Trudeau government has claimed to follow The Science on COVID, but that science is strangely different than it is everywhere else,” Queens University law professor Bruce Pardy told Common Sense.