Knowledgebase

Dr. Henry advised that religious belief is not a legitimate reason for not getting vaccinated. Is this accurate?

I am not aware of this specific statement. However, she did advise that there will be no exemptions to the B.C. mandate and passport at this time, during this period of increased risk.

As an employer, you do need to provide protection and accommodation to employees who are protected under the British Columbia Human Rights Code, such as for a medical or sincere religious belief.

Under human rights legislation, protection of a religious belief or practice is triggered when a person can show that they sincerely believe that the belief or practice (a) has a connection with religion; and (b) is “experientially religious in nature”: Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem, 2004 SCC 47 at para. 69.

That being said, there have been no confirmed major religions to my knowledge that hold this belief. One driver for testing sincerity is the fact that no major organized religion objects to the vaccines, and Roman Catholic and other Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders have advised followers to get the shots. Pope Francis went so far as to say that getting vaccinated was “the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others.”

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