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Canadian university sued for requiring COVID boosters, allegedly violates privacy law

Reportedly only university in Ontario to keep universal requirement after provincial government dropped mandate.

Published: September 5, 2022 8:20pm

Updated: September 5, 2022 9:00pm

Students are suing a Canadian university for requiring them to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 after its provincial government dropped a COVID directive and discontinued its vaccination verification app.

Ontario's Western University drew critical attention for its three-dose requirement for students and employees last month. While it claimed that an anti-mandate protest could be "potentially dangerous," hundreds of demonstrators turned out with no problems.

The Democracy Fund, a Canadian charity that funds constitutional litigation, and former Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms lawyer Lisa Bildy, now in private practice, are suing the university on behalf of three students in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

They argue that Western has no legal basis to continue collecting vaccination records from campus community members after Ontario shuttered the Verify Ontario App in June.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act prohibits institutional collection of personal information unless "expressly authorized by statute, used for the purposes of law enforcement or necessary to the proper administration of a lawfully authorized activity."

The application to the court is seeking an injunction against Western to stop its collection of private health information. The plaintiffs said the court will determine "preliminary scheduling issues" on Sept. 9.

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