The problem of whether it’s ethical to impose a vaccine requirement to visit is not a thing that was presented with consideration by the Canadian official who wrote the policy, court papers show.
Jennifer Little, director general of the COVID Recovery Team at Transport Canada, was in charge of drafting the vaccine mandate policy that precluded an incredible number of Canadians from going for a plane, train, plus some marine vessels.
Little testified as a witness for the federal government in its defence of the travel mandate that’s becoming challenged in federal court.
During her June 9 cross-examination, Little was asked if she had a conversation with anyone in government that could have considered whether a mandate is ethical.
Im unaware of any particular study or specific conversation compared to that effect, Little said, noting that the general public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) could have literature on the ethics of vaccination mandates.
Little was pointed to a PHACpolicy called Public health ethics framework: Helpful information for used in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.
When questioned if she had consulted it, Little said she hadn’t.
The PHAC policy makes no reference to vaccine mandates but states that Trust and Justice are its guiding values and principles. It adds other principles like the respect of human rights and minimizing harm.
Without giving ethical considerations to the mandate, Little said she had sought legal services as to if the policy would impact Charter rights.
Little was cross-examined alongside over twelve other witnesses and experts presented by the attorney general to guard the federal policy of mandatory vaccination in transportation.
Four lawsuits are challenging the mandate the government suspended on June 20. Despite only suspending rather than abolishing the mandate, the federal government is trying to really have the legal actions declared moot.
The Liberal government imposed mandates in transportation and the general public service and federally-regulated sectors in October this past year.
WHO on Vaccine Mandates
In her affidavit submitted for the case, Little said Transport Canada has duly considered and, as necessary, acted on the guidance of different organizations to implement measures to safeguard the transportation sector and the Canadian public.
The domestic organizations listed are the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada (HC), and the international organizations listed will be the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Little testified on June 9 that she hadn’t seen a recommendation from PHAC or HC for a vaccine mandate in travel.
During her cross-examination on June 10, lawyer and applicant Nabil Belkacem also remarked that the vaccine mandate in travel isn’t supported by the WHO nor ICAO.
Do we concur that at the existing time your situation is in direct opposition with the WHO? asked Belkacem.
Little acknowledged that excerpts from the WHO brief presented by Belkacem certainly indicates that [WHO is] not supportive of vaccination mandates.
But to my knowledge, we have been not under a legal obligation to check out guidelines of the planet Health Organization, she said.
The WHO policy brief COVID-19 and mandatory vaccination: Ethical considerations published on, may 30 says the WHO has issued a posture statement that national authorities and conveyance operators shouldn’t require COVID-19 vaccination as a disorder of international travel.
The ICAO also will not support mandatory vaccination in travel.
Because of the global unequal usage of vaccines and the unsuitability or intolerance useful of vaccines by a lot of people, vaccination shouldn’t be a prerequisite for international travel, says the business in a summary of recommendations.
Another government witness was also cross-examined on the problem of ethical considerations for the vaccine mandate.
Dr. Eleni Galanis, director general of the Centre for Integrated Risk Assessment (CIRA) within PHAC, is section of an advisory group that meets weekly with Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
Galanis said on June 23 that the ethics of proposed public health measures are discussed within the group, but there is absolutely no particular individual with a particular background like a lawyer or medical ethicist.
The total amount between individual rights and the necessity to protect the fitness of the population, the higher good, is regularly touched on in the discussions around the implementation of public health measures, she said.
Galanis said the problem of mandatory vaccination in travel was mentioned, however, not really discussed during meetings with Dr. Tam.
Has she ever directed you or other people on the group to get supportive evidence to justify the vaccination mandate? asked lawyer Sam Presvelos, who represents applicants Karl Harrison and Shaun Rickard.
No, not since Ive been there, said Galanis. And I dont attend weekly, but since December when I attend I dont recall this being discussed.