Current and former employees sue WestJet over vaccine mandate

Lawsuit alleges 'unconstitutional abuse of thousands of people'

Current and former employees sue WestJet over vaccine mandate

A group of 176 current and former WestJet employees has filed a lawsuit against the company and the federal government over the enforcement of its vaccine mandate, according to a report.

The lawsuit was filed on October 5 by workers who are either active, on leave, terminated, forced into early retirement, or suffering from vaccine-related injury, reported The Epoch Times. They include pilots, flight attendants, and contact centre agents.

“Collaborating with airlines and corporate stakeholders, the Canadian Government implemented punitive and divisive COVID-19 vaccination mandates, creating a two-tier society stoked only by fear,” the group of plaintiffs calling themselves Cause For Action wrote in a statement.

Read more: General Motors Canada suspends COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The group has taken issue with what it believes is the coercive nature of the mandate, not with people choosing to get vaccinated against the virus. “Our objection lies with the coercion, discipline, and denial of informed consent used to achieve mass vaccination. Forcing consent under duress is unethical, unconstitutional, illegal and by no means Canadian,” it said. “Their aggressive enforcement resulted in unconstitutional abuse of thousands of people.”

Read more: Toronto police, Canadian banks drop COVID-19 vaccine mandates

WestJet could have resisted the mandate imposed by Transport Canada, but it chose to go aboveboard, according to the group. “Simply following orders has not historically been, nor will it be, an excuse to violate human rights and informed consent,” said Cause For Action.

Meanwhile, in March, Rebecca Kalison, HR Consultancy Team Lead, Peninsula, told COS that employers can still impose vaccination on their workers. “As long as the employer wants to do that, they can continue to have those policies in place. The catch would be that the organization essentially has to have a good business reason to implement something mandatory like that.”

But in June, General Motors Co. announced it is suspending its COVID-19 vaccination and reporting policy for its Canada operations. The Toronto Police is also no longer requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 since June 21. Numerous other employers have done the same.

Vaccination requirements for health-care system workers continue to be in place in British Columbia. Healthcare system workers will continue to be required to be vaccinated with a primary COVID-19 vaccine series, unless they have obtained an exemption from the provincial health officer (PHO), the provincial government noted in September.