the health system can resist, argues Quebec

The protesters of compulsory vaccination in the health network have failed to prove that the health system will collapse on November 15 if the government decree takes effect, argued the Attorney General of Quebec.

Wednesday afternoon, it was the turn of the attorneys of the Attorney General of Quebec, Me Stéphanie Garon and Me François-Alexandre Gagné, to make their pleadings at the Montreal courthouse.

They had to respond to the arguments of Me Natalia Manole, the Montreal lawyer who is trying to temporarily suspend the application of the government decree on behalf of thousands of health workers.

According to Me Manole and his clients, the application of the decree on the compulsory vaccination of health workers would cause catastrophic breakdowns in services in a context where the network is already fragile.

“Apprehensions”, not proof

However, the numerous statements of health workers do not prove that the provincial decree will lead to the collapse of the health system, submitted the lawyers of the Attorney General to Quebec Superior Court Judge Michel Yergeau.

Rather, they are “real apprehensions,” but the court cannot rule on mere assumptions, they argued.

It is true that conditions are difficult in the health network. But we do not admit that the application of the decree – when the government decides on the application – will have the effect of depriving the population of care, in particular urgent and critical care.

Me Stéphanie Garon, lawyer for Attorney General

The lawyer is based on the sworn testimony of the deputy minister responsible for the organization of care in Quebec, Dr. Lucie Opatrny.

“After targeting the affected workplaces and identifying the care potentially affected by the decree, Dr. Opatrny reorganized the care so that the most critical and urgent can be offered during the application of the decree”, explained Me Garon.

Screening and vulnerable clientele

In addition, as an alternative to compulsory vaccination, Me Natalia Manole suggests screening all health workers – vaccinated or not – three times a week.

However, the lawyers of the Attorney General of Quebec, Me Stéphanie Garon and Me François-Alexandre Gagné, affirm that this measure would be very costly.

“Just testing unvaccinated workers is costing the system millions of dollars per week, pleaded Me Stéphanie Garon. And these are both human and material resources that are not currently being used to provide care to the population. ”

In addition, Mr. Garon mentioned the dangers for vulnerable clients, such as immunosuppressed patients, of being exposed to unvaccinated workers.

“Particularly vulnerable users are not before you to submit their point of view on the infringement of their constitutional rights”, added the lawyer.

At the end of their argument, the lawyers of the Attorney General asked Judge Michel Yergeau to reject the protesters’ request.

Judge Yergeau must now rule on the temporary suspension of the decree. It will render its decision on November 15, the date on which the ordinance is due to come into force.

The courts will then hear the case on the merits in January 2022.

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