Former employees with the City of Quesnel have launched a lawsuit against the city seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages after losing their jobs over a COVID-19 mandatory vaccination policy.
The 10 plaintiffs filed the notice of civil claim on Wednesday, June 22, in B.C. Supreme Court in Prince George, nearly five months after they were terminated from their employment.
The City of Quesnel announced it would be requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in late 2021.
With the exception of one plaintiff who received EI benefits until May, all were placed on leave without pay on January 10, 2022, and rendered ineligible for EI benefits.
The plaintiffs who worked with the city in various roles such as facilities maintenance, equipment operator, landfill attendant and labourer, were all terminated on February 7, 2022.
According to the claim, the city refused to meet with the plaintiffs’ union to develop an adjustment plan, and that no viable alternatives to vaccination were offered and no reasonable accommodations were permitted, such as weekly testing or working remotely.
The plaintiffs argue in the 26-page notice of civil claim the COVID-19 vaccines are experimental and have not undergone the same stringent scientific approval process by Health Canada as have previous vaccines and medications.
They say have suffered measurable damages, including mental distress, anxiety and in particular, injury to dignity and self-respect, and are left to contemplate whether or not they will have the funds available to meet their basic needs including the purchase of food, clothing, and shelter for themselves and their families.
They are also seeking several declarations, one being that the City of Quesnel may have permanently and irreparably damaged its employees’ genetic makeup by recommending the use of the mRNA vaccine technologies from Pfizer and Moderna.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.
The civil claim also lists the provincial government and the City of Quesnel’s manager, Byron Johnson, as defendants.
The plaintiffs are each seeking damages of up to $2 million.
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