Vaccines and Human Rights
On August 23, 2021, BC’s Provincial Health Officer announced that proof of vaccination would be required for people to attend certain social and recreational settings and events. You can read the PHO’s order here.
Please read our blog post about the BC Vaccine Card here.
We have also posted information about mandatory vaccines in the workplace here.
The BC Human Rights Tribunal website also has information about COVID-19 and human rights, available here.
The BC Human Rights Code protects people from discrimination on the basis of certain protected characteristics. It does not protect personal choice or preferences.
Complaints that mask or vaccine mandates violate personal freedoms under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms must be made in BC Supreme Court, and not at the Human Rights Tribunal.
Masks and Human Rights
On November 24, 2020, BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General ordered that all individuals must wear a face mask in all indoor public spaces, including in retail stores and in workplaces (in shared common areas of office buildings).
The order includes exemptions for:
- children under 12 years old;
- anyone who is unable to wear a mask because of a health condition or impairment;
- anyone who is unable to put on or remove a mask without help from another person.
The order’s medical exemption reflects the provisions of the BC Human Rights Code. When a person cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, but still wants to access a service normally available to the public, the service provider has a duty to accommodate that person to the point of undue hardship.
These FAQs have been created to help service providers and people seeking services understand their rights and responsibilities around the requirement to wear a mask. It is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
The law can change. As human rights tribunals and courts make decisions on these issues, we will do our best to update the information we provide. However, we cannot guarantee that these FAQs reflect the current state of the law.