Our Declaration of Principle

1.     We are a collective of vaccinated and unvaccinated lawyers who in the spirit of respectful civility, devoid of political partisanship, and regardless of immutable characteristics, stand together in respectful opposition to forced and coerced vaccination legislation, regulation, and policies including the use of commercial covid-19 vaccine passports and mandatory covid-19 vaccination requirements for employees in Ontario and across Canada.

2.     The effect of these laws and policies serve to create a segregation in the participation of society on the basis of a forced or coerced medical treatment and will unquestionably contribute to systemic societal denials of human dignity, individual autonomy over bodily integrity, freedom of conscience, mobility, creed, and the right to be treated equally before and under the law in the absence of discrimination – all of which are guarded under Human Rights Codes, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

3.     We acknowledge no right or freedom in Canada is absolute, however the Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed time and time again that any such legislative infringement upon a Charter right or freedom “should impair ‘as little as possible’ the right or freedom in question” (R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 SCR 103 (SCC), at para. 70 citing, R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 SCR 295 (SCC), at p. 352).

4.     This is clearly articulated in section 1 of our Charter which guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it are subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

5.     The onus to justify any such limitation rests upon the government that seeks to uphold the limitation (Hunter v. Southam Inc. [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145 (SCC); R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 SCR 103 (SCC), at para. 66).

6.     There is another way forward marked by true tolerance, informed consent, inclusivity, individual conscience, and the ability for individuals to exercise private autonomous choice free of reprisal, all of which lie at the heart of our rich democratic political tradition.

7.     We need to revive and awaken true freedom of speech, inquisitiveness, and the cultivation of dissent which is core to both our adversarial legal system and the scientific method. The pernicious development of paternalistic censorship in Ontario and Canada that seeks to silence, punish, and defame professionals for their opinions and research must stop.

8.     As lawyers we publicly bring forth these concerns in good faith, motivated by our duty to carry on the practice of law with honour and integrity in relation to the public and are respectfully calling for immediate legal reform or a referral of these laws, regulations, and policies to the Ontario Court of Appeal for judicial scrutiny concerning their constitutional validity or invalidity under section 8 of the Courts of Justice Act, RSO 1990, c C.43.

9.     I adopt this statement in my individual capacity absent any broader affiliation or specific partnership with any other signatory to this statement.

The Peckford Recommendation
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