Skip to content

Lawyers battle feds' attempt to toss out travel ban lawsuit

Federal government only 'suspended' and not cancelled covid vaccine mandates for domestic and outbound international travellers so court action must continue, say constitutional lawyers

CALGARY, Alta. – Constitutional lawyers are fighting the federal government’s attempts to shut down a legal challenge to its travel ban.

Canada was one of a few countries that banned unvaccinated citizens from flying within the country and to different provinces. In October of 2021, the federal government required anyone travelling by air, train, or ship, must receive the required number of Covid shots in order to travel. Canada’s new definition of "vaccinated" now includes required boosters.

On June 14, the federal government issued a news release announcing that effective June 20, vaccine requirements would be suspended for “domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal government employees.” Shortly after, the federal government filed a motion with the court seeking to strike down the legal challenge saying the travel ban is no longer in force and therefore the court action was "moot." 

"This travel ban has not been cancelled, only suspended, and so court action must continue,” said constitutional lawyer Eva Chipiuk from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms based out of Calgary, Alta.

Lawyers from the JCCF filed a response today to the federal government’s motion saying Brian Peckford, Maxime Bernier, and four other individuals applied to the court to review the government’s actions, secure their rights, and provide clarity to a controversial and divisive topic.

“Canadians cannot live in a country which will not permit them to freely leave for business, for necessary medical care, to see loved ones abroad, to vacation, or simply to move away,” said Chipiuk. “Any country that makes receipt of a drug or medical treatment a condition to departing the country has lost all semblance of freedom and respect for human dignity.”

Lawyers challenging the federal government's travel ban include Chipiuk, Allison Pejovic, Keith Wilson, and Patrick Abbott [student-at-law]. They say it is the applicants’ position that without a hearing on the merits of this matter, in an open and transparent court, the democratic foundation of our society will be eroded.

In March, the JCCF filed evidence on behalf of 11 witnesses – including five expert witnesses. They said that expert medical evidence now filed with the court ranges from scientific evidence about Covid spread among both vaccinated and unvaccinated, and risks associated with taking the new Covid shots.

On Sept. 21, there will be a one-day “mootness hearing,” because the federal government says that the suspension of the travel ban makes the legal action pointless.

The hearing was first scheduled for Sept. 19, but was adjourned to Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 after the federal government asked the federal court to postpone the trial.