University of Lethbridge Sued By Student Over Vaccine Mandates

Carol Crosson has filed a legal claim on behalf of a student at the University of Lethbridge, Haley Nassichuk-Dean, against the University of Lethbridge on its vaccine mandate. In her last semester of study this winter, Ms. Nassichuk-Dean dreams of one day becoming a veterinarian. However, that dream cannot be realized, because the University of Lethbridge has now discontinued the option of testing for unvaccinated students. The province of Alberta says this is completely acceptable on its post-secondary campuses.

The University says it cannot continue to offer testing because it’s too expensive, even though the province of Alberta has a program in which the University can offer testing for free.

It is clear now that both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated are both getting and transmitting COVID-19. Yet Ms. Nassichuk-Dean sits at home, bereft of her studies, and for what reason? Not because she’ll pass on COVID any more than her cohorts will. She can’t even test now, a measure which arguably makes her less of a risk than her vaccinated friends.

Ms. Nassichuk-Dean says that this is a breach of her section 7 rights under the Charter to life liberty and security. She should never be forced to take a medical treatment, against her will, on pain of losing the opportunity for an education.

Rights and Freedoms Advocate is providing support for this case.

Update on Nassichuk-Dean v. U of L: Set to come before the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench

February 3, 2021

This Winter semester, Hayley Nassichuk-Dean’s education at the U of L came to a sudden halt when she refused to take a COVID-19 vaccine on the basis of her religious beliefs. No matter how many times she tried to find options to finish her degree so she could continue her education, the U of L would not help her. This happened though we all understand now that both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated are getting and passing on COVID-19. And even though the campus is now offering its classes online.

Hayley’s case is set to come before the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench on May 5 and 6. Hayley is a person of principle, standing up for students clear across the country!

Update on Nassichuk-Dean v. U of L – Are AB students free to determine their own medical treatment?

June 21, 2022

At a hearing on May 5 and 6, 2022, Carol Crosson represented Hayley Nassichuk-Dean in arguing that section 7 of the Charter protects her right to medical autonomy and that when the U of L refused to provide any options outside of COVID-19 vaccination, the University ran afoul of the Charter. When the University provided online classes the year before its vaccine mandate and the semester after Hayley was forced to withdraw, Crosson argued that it went too far, denying all alternatives to Hayley, infringing on her life, liberty and security.

Why does this matter to you?

This was the first full Charter section 7 case in front of a Canadian court. This case set the stage for a full Charter analysis on autonomy in relation to medical decisions. It is crucial that Canadians have the right to determine their own path on medical issues. Stay tuned for the Court decision in due course.

Update on Nassichuk-Dean v. U of L – Vaccine mandate case loss

September 27, 2022

On September 20, 2022, Hayley Nassichuk-Dean lost her case against the University of Lethbridge. In December of 2021, Nassichuk-Dean, a student at U of L, filed a court application claiming that University of Lethbridge’s campus vaccine mandate violated s. 7 of the Charter, which section protects life, liberty and security. The U of L excluded Nassichuk-Dean from continuing her studies in any form, even online, into January of 2022, because she was not vaccinated, while at the same time it allowed vaccinated students to continue their own studies online.

The Court of King’s Bench of Alberta refused to rule on any of the substance of Nassichuk-Dean’s case, instead ruling not to award the only relief she was entitled to as a Charter litigant, a declaration that the mandate violated the Charter because, “It is difficult to imagine a similar set of circumstances arising again. As such, a declaration on so narrow and specific a factual context would have no future public utility. If anything, it would only have the potential to make mischief were it to be applied to or influence future health policies.”

Charter litigants rely on declarations because they are one of the only mechanisms they can rely upon to assert their Charter rights in court. So by refusing Nassichuk-Dean’s request, the Court has denied her and other Charter litigants a path to assert their Charter rights.