Does COVID-19 vaccination require my consent?

Does COVID-19 vaccination require my consent?

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) are clear that obtaining voluntary informed consent before carrying out any medical treatment (including invasive treatments such as vaccination) is medically and ethically required, and carries with it a strict legal standard of disclosure for physicians. Canadians not only have the right to accept or refuse any medical procedure, but the right to be given complete and relevant information on which to base those decisions. This is called “informed consent.” Procedures to which a person does not consent are unethical and unlawful. Importantly, consent obtained under duress, coercion or any suggestion of compulsion either by the actions or words of the physician or others (including governmental authorities) will not be considered to be voluntary.

In light of your right to provide informed consent prior to any medical procedure, the CMA obligates medical professionals to disclose risks (such as vaccine adverse effects, including but not limited to antibody-dependent enhancement [ADE]): “even though a certain risk may be a mere possibility and usually need not be disclosed, if it carries with it serious consequences it requires disclosure.” Furthermore, the medical professional must contextualize those risks for a person’s particular medical history, and to discuss alternative, safer options (e.g. early outpatient and preventative pharmaceuticals) in language that the patient understands. The standard for information disclosure is what the reasonable person would want to know.

Two landmark Supreme Court decisions — Hopp v. Lepp and Reibl v. Hughes — affirm the requirement of informed consent. Informed consent is grounded in the ethical principles of autonomy, dignity and respect for persons and is supported by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, the Nuremberg Code, the Helsinki Declaration and, at the provincial level, documents like Ontario’s Health Care Consent Act.


You have the right to refuse any medical treatment or intervention for any reason and are not under a legal obligation to consent. It is recognized that vaccine mandates, including in the employment context, may result in individuals giving consent under duress or coercion. In light of such potentially illegal mandates, you may wish to retain a lawyer to review your rights and obligations in your particular situation.

Given the mandates for vaccination to keep one’s government job or travel, it appears that these rights have been trampled by governments intent on coercing people to comply and get vaccinated.

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