Unvaccinated health workers urge Quebec court to delay vaccine deadline until 2022

A Superior Court judge is hearing arguments about whether the Quebec government's plan to suspend unvaccinated health-care workers on Nov. 15 should be postponed.

Unvaccinated workers want to delay suspensions until next year

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé, centre, says unvaccinated health-care workers will be suspended without pay on Nov. 15. The workers have gone to court to contest that. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

 A legal challenge to Quebec's vaccination mandate for health-care workers is being heard today in Quebec Superior Court.

The provincial government plans to suspend unvaccinated health network staff as of Nov. 15, but Premier François Legault raised the possibility this week of postponing the deadline.

Superior Court Justice Michel Yergeau began hearing arguments today and says he will render a decision on Nov. 15, regardless of what the government decides.

The court is hearing arguments for an injunction from unvaccinated health-care workers who want mandatory vaccination delayed until after the case is heard on its merits in 2022.

A lawyer representing unvaccinated employees opened today's arguments, saying the government is legally obliged to ensure the protection of the population and "protect, maintain and improve'' health services.

Natalia Manole said the government's decision to postpone an initial deadline of Oct. 15, citing concerns about an interruption in service, shows that applying the decree would do more harm than good for the population.