My religious/creed exemption request was denied at the hospital where I am employed; with the explanation being given

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Customer: My religious/creed exemption request was denied at the hospital where I am employed; with the explanation being given "your request has not been approved because your assertion that your religious or creed beliefs prohibit you from being coerced and/or that that you have freedom of conscience does not establish a creed-based exemption under the Ontario Human Rights Code". In the document I submitted to the organization, I mentioned nothing of being 'coerced'. I stated that my religious beliefs is at the core of all that I am and that I will become. I am required and have committed to being guided by the holy spirit, which resides within me. God's spirit within me, has not guided me to receive this vaccine. The decisions I make and actions I take in this life, must and will always be based on what the Lord requires of me. I stated that this takes courage, as I am a mortal being who can easily be consumed by fear; however, I will always put Jesus first. As an FYI I am a Christian of the Apostolic Church. I do not make decisions based on personal preference, but rather the word of God, which teaches that we are to follow our conscience, guided by the holy spirit. How is this not a sincerely ***** ***** belief?
JA: Have you talked to an Ontario lawyer about this?
Customer: No, I received communication yesterday from the hospital re their decision and a follow-up email this morning, based on further clarification I provided, as I was baffled that they interpreted my exemption request as 'prohibiting me from being coerced'. This would almost make a person think that they themselves see the mandate as 'coercion'; again, a word which I never used in my written statements.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Cried
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No, nothing else. The decision of the hospital has placed my clinical teaching for the college in jeopardy as well as my role as a clinical nurse specialist. Two positions on the line.
Answered by Debra in 7 mins 1 year ago
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Debra
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Debra, Expert

Hello and Welcome to JustAnswer. My name is***** will be working on your question today and I am looking forward to our conversation.

Customer
Thanks so much Debra; challenging times.
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Debra, Expert

I know your question is important to you and I will be giving it the time and attention it deserves.

Sometimes responses and replies take time, so I ask you to be courteous and patient to allow me the time to type answers to you and also to others. At times I may even have to do some research.

I am sorry to hear of this difficult situation.

These certainly are difficult times. But would you like for me to explain the law as it relates to vaccinations right now? I'm happy to do it but it will take several minutes.

Customer
I think I have a pretty good understanding of the law as it relates to vaccination. Perhaps there is something I am missing as it concerns approval of exemption requests as it concerns religion/creed(??).
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Debra, Expert

I will explain the law but please understand that I'm not a doctor and also I'm just explaining the law. I didn't make the laws, I'm not prepared to try and justify them. I will just explain them as best I can. You should know that I am a senior retired lawyer in Toronto and that over the course of my career I have had extensive experience in disability law which included all areas of health law and human rights/discrimination law.

Here is the answer to your query. Please do not hesitate to ask any follow up questions related to this response and know that I will respond as soon as I can.

You do not have to be vaccinated. But it is not discrimination to treat you differently if you're not vaccinated. Under the human rights code vaccination status is not a protected ground.

However, if you had a medical reason why you could not be vaccinated then your employer would owe you a duty of reasonable accommodation. They have to accommodate you if they can without undergoing undue hardship.

That would not mean that you could come to work and interact with others. It could mean that you could work from home for example.

If you don't have a valid medical exemption then there is nothing else that you can do in terms of trying to argue that this is a breach of the human rights code.

The Ontario human rights commission has made a clear statement where they had stated that there is no valid religious exemption for not being vaccinated

If your doctor were to provide you with that exemption it would not have that's all be the case that the doctor would have to set out a specific diagnosis or particular medical details. The doctor would simply say that you cannot be vaccinated because it would put you at risk because of your medical history or situation and that will be all.

Does that help clarify the law ?

Customer
Thank you Debra. Just seeing your response now. The way the vaccination policy is written, there is room for religious/creed exemption as well as medical. Both of these forms are attached to the policy, for printing. So, I am rather perplexed that the human rights commission is stating there is no valid religious exemption for being vaccinated. I had hoped my doctor would provide the paperwork for a medical exemption, however, it seems our physicians here in Ontario are simply terrified of being reprimanded by their college. A very narrow window has been created, by the ministry of health, under which physicians can grant a medical exemption. Allergic reaction to a component of a COVID vaccine or having had an adverse reaction to an mRNA vaccine (i.e. the first dose). So, potentially, one has to first risk being injured. To be clear, are you saying that while the hospital has an attached religious exemption form to the policy, they really would not even be giving such an exemption? Hoping this isn't the case...the whole thing is truly exhausting.
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Debra, Expert

The hospital can do what they want. The point is if they don't want to give you a religious exemption you won't have any recourse because filing a complaint with the human rights Tribunal will not work. They will not accept your complaint.

Customer
O.K.,, thank you; I understand what you mean by this!
Customer
I have no further queries at the moment. Appreciate your time on this.
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Debra, Expert

You are very welcome.

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Debra, Expert

Is there anything more I can help you with before I mark this question as complete?

Customer
No, thanks so much Debra. You've been most helpful. I will definitely reach out if any further assistance is required.
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Debra, Expert

Thank you for trusting us to help you here at JustAnswer. If you need more clarification or have a follow-up question just reply and we can continue our dialogue. If you would like to ask me new questions please start a new post and if you do if you say “This is only for Debra” I will be sure to give your post top priority.

Although I can’t always give good news, I am direct and do my best to simplify things for people to understand.

Thank you very much!

Best wishes,

Debra

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