Employment Update

By Barry W. Kwasniewski and Martin U. Wissmath

May 2022 Charity & NFP Law Update
Published on May 26, 2022



Divisional Court Dismisses Students’ Appeal for COVID-19 Vaccine Religious Exemptions

Four students of McMaster University did not succeed in appealing the rejection of their claims for COVID-19 vaccine exemptions on religious grounds in the Ontario Divisional Court. Rather, the proper forum for their appeal is the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, as decided by the Divisional Court in Michalski v McMaster Universitya unanimous judgment published on April 29, 2022. Although the students initially sought declarations that McMaster University’s (“McMaster”) vaccination policy violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the Ontario Human Rights Code, they later amended their application and narrowed it down to an appeal for judicial review of McMaster’s decisions not to grant exemption requests, claiming that McMaster breached a duty of fairness owed to the students, and that McMaster’s decisions were unreasonable. Charities and not-for-profits will find this case of interest, particularly in the area of employment law, because of the issues surrounding COVID-19 mandatory vaccination policies and the procedure for claiming religious exemptions. This Charity & NFP Law Bulletin summarizes the background and provides commentary on the Divisional Court judgment.

For the balance of this Bulletin, please see Charity & NFP Law Bulletin No. 512.


Read the May 2022 Charity & NFP Law Update