A charitable society founded by a Vernon lab tech who lost her job along with hundreds of other B.C. health-care workers who refused the COVID-19 vaccine has launched a class-action lawsuit against provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
A notice of civil claim brought under the Class Proceedings Act by Terri Perepolkin and Jedediah Ferguson was filed Oct.13 in BC Supreme Court in Victoria.
Perepolkin says she hasn't worked since the mandate at the start of the COVID pandemic and that she and her husband sold their home to afford life on a single paycheque. Meanwhile, she has been home schooling their children.
Perepolkin and others were fired two years ago after holding out against the vaccine.
Bill C19 maintains that health-care workers must have a minimum of two immunization shots. B.C. is the last remaining province with the mandate, and Perepolkin says it's past time it was dropped.
"I started a non-profit society for all B.C. health-care workers who were also affected by the mandates," she says.
The United Health Care Workers of BC currently has 107 members, and Perepolkin hopes to bring in all those terminated once the class action is certified.
"Dr. Henry is still requiring the first two COVID shots to work in health care in B.C. – even though she has admitted that all workers who have the first two shots no longer have any protection from them," Perepolkin claims.
Perepolkin was employed by Interior Health at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, where she had worked since 2004.
She was placed on leave without pay on Oct. 26, 2021, and was terminated Nov. 18 that year.
Co-plaintiff Ferguson was an employee of Island Health at the Cumberland Regional Hospital laundry. He had worked there since June 2015 and was put on leave, then fired on the same dates.
Court documents state the action "is brought on behalf of members of the class consisting of all unionized healthcare workers in British Columbia who have been subject to the COVID-19 vaccination status information and preventative measures order issued by the public health office on Oct. 14, 2021."
The suit estimates the class consists of thousands of fired health-care workers.
It claims the measures breached contractual employment agreements and that those fired are "directly affected by the misfeasance of the provincial officer of health in issuing the order and have been subjected to foreseeable ensuing harm as a result of such conduct."
The public health order stated that "vaccination is safe, very effective, and the single most important preventive measure health professionals, visitors to hospitals, providers of care or services in hospital or community settings ... can take to protect patients, residents and clients, and the health and personal care workforce, from infection, severe illness and possible death from COVID-19."
The suit claims that none of the COVID vaccines' product monographs state anything about viral transmission protection and thus claims that it can protect other people are misleading.
It also references adverse side-effects including the potential for blood clots from the AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna shots.
The suit seeks aggravated and punitive damages, including general damages for inducement of breach of contract, misfeasance in public office, and an order certifying the class proceeding.
The plaintiffs claim Henry "acted with reckless indifference or willful blindness" in issuing and enforcing the orders.
The class registry is being handled by Sheikh Law of Victoria.
The province had 21 days to respond as of the Oct. 13 filing date.
Previous attempts to sue the province and Henry have so far failed.