OHS Canada Magazine

Two B.C. parents file legal challenge against school reopening plans

August 27, 2020
By The Canadian Press
Health & Safety Human Resources

CHILLIWACK, B.C. — Two fathers have filed an injunction application demanding the B.C. government implement tougher safety measures aimed at protecting kids from the risks of COVID-19 before schools reopen.

The application filed Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court on behalf of Bernard Trest of White Rock and Gary Shuster of Vancouver names the ministers of health and education as respondents.

It alleges they have interfered with the suppression of the virus by opening schools in a manner that ignores evidence that people with underlying health conditions may be at risk for severe illness.

None of the claims in the application have been tested in court and ministries have yet to file a legal response to it, nor did they immediately respond to a request for comment.

The application says Trest has asthma and his 10-year-old son suffers from asthma that arises when he gets a respiratory infection.


It says Shuster, who has two school-age daughters, was born with a genetic disorder causing muscle damage that can be triggered by fever and viral infection.

It alleges the back-to-school plan endangers the lives of students, teachers and the broader community by wrongly presuming that learning groups of 60 to 120 students are safe so-called bubbles, in which physical distancing is not necessary.

The lawsuit claims the province is conducting a “science experiment in which students and teachers are the guinea pigs” by refusing to implement tougher preventative measures, such as physical distancing among students in the same learning group, stricter mask rules and reduced class sizes.

Kailin Che, a lawyer for the applicants, said the injunction application was filed in Chilliwack to avoid delay. It indicates Trest and Shuster will appear before a judge on Sept. 14.


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