Federal Court tackles cases involving COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Canada Emergency Response Benefit
This week, the Federal Court of Appeal heard appeals challenging tax assessments and decisions of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. The Federal Court of Canada dealt with lawsuits alleging human rights and Charter violations.
Federal Court of Appeal
On Monday, the appellate court heard the cases of RRSP of James T. Grenon (552-53721) by Its Trustee CIBC Trust Corp. v. His Majesty the King, A-137-21; Magren Holdings Ltd. v. His Majesty the King, A-199-21; 2176 Investments Ltd. et al v. His Majesty the King, A-200-21; Magren Holdings Ltd. et al v. His Majesty the King, A-201-21; James T. Grenon v. His Majesty the King, A-369-21; RRSP of James T. Grenon (552-53721) et al v. His Majesty the King, A-370-21; Magren Holdings Ltd. v. His Majesty the King, A-371-21; 2176 Investments Ltd. et al v. His Majesty the King, A-372-21; and Magren Holdings Ltd. et al v. His Majesty the King, A-373-21.
These nine consolidated appeals challenged tax assessments and reassessments and asked the appellate court to vacate federal taxes, provincial taxes, penalties, and interest. The appellants argued that the Tax Court misapprehended the burden of proof, that s. 248(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1985 barred the assessments, and that the mutual fund trusts were qualified investments.
The appellate court also heard two appeals from decisions of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board on Monday and on Wednesday. First was the case of Jill Andrews v. Deputy Head - Department of Fisheries and Oceans, A-13-22, where the employment board allegedly failed to observe the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness when it refused to extend the time for filing a grievance.
Second was the case of Anjie Tarek-Kaminker v. Attorney General of Canada, A-332-21, which arose from a grievance where the applicant alleged that her employer’s decision rescinding accommodation measures amounted to discrimination based on family status, religious affiliation, and disability. She also argued that management harassed her and that her employer claimed that she owed leave credits.
On Wednesday, the appellate court heard Tariq Rana v. Teamsters Local Union No. 938, A-70-22. The assessment officer imposed costs at an unreasonable rate, the applicant said. The applicant had a right to liberty under s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to pay the respondent via email money transfer in Canadian dollars, the applicant added.
The court heard matters relating to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) on Monday and on Tuesday. First was the case of Silvia Dumbrava v. Attorney General of Canada, T-2731-22, where the applicant challenged a decision of the Canada Revenue Agency and asked for CERB funds amounting to $14,000.
Second was the case of Tressa Marie Mitchell v. Attorney General of Canada, T-76-22, where the applicant asked for CERB funds for the period between Mar. 15, 2021 and Aug. 29, 2021. The applicant allegedly did not receive enough time to contact care providers to secure documentation supporting their severe lung condition at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic being announced in Canada.
On Wednesday, the court heard the cases of Andrew Girard et al v. The Minister of Transport et al, T-553-22 and Bernard Albert et al v. Canada Post Corporation et al, T-1436-22. The plaintiffs, who were employees of the Canadian National Railway Company and of the Canada Post Corporation, claimed human rights and Charter breaches.
The plaintiffs opposed the following:
- vaccination absent informed consent
- the requirement for them to attest to their medical records regarding the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of their employment
- the forced disclosure to the employer of their private health information about their COVID-19 vaccination status under the threat of administrative and/or disciplinary measures, which ranged from unpaid leave to termination of employment
In both cases, the plaintiffs asked for damages in the amount of $500,000 per plaintiff for alleged violations of their rights under ss. 2(a), 7, 8, and 15 of the Charter and asked for punitive and exemplary damages of $500,000 per plaintiff.
In the Canada Post Corporation case, the plaintiffs also sought damages of $500,000 per plaintiff for alleged violations of their rights under ss. 2, 122, 124, 125, 125.1, 127.1(1), and 128 of the Canada Labour Code, 1985 and under s. 217(1) of the Criminal Code, 1985. The plaintiffs likewise requested damages of $500,000 per plaintiff for alleged violations of their rights under ss. 122(1) and 122.1 of the Labour Code.