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Charter of Rights and Freedoms Challenge of Mandatory Masks in Nova Scotia
$5,200 raised
100% of $5.2k goal
90 contributors
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UPDATE:

As of August 22 we have reached our Stage 1 goal of raising $5000 (+ advertising fees) to to seek expert legal advice on the subject. As a result of this achievement, I have paused contributions for the time being. Once we have advice on how precisely to move forward, contributions will be reopened with a new goal for Stage 2. Stay tuned!

 

Case Details:

August 14, 2020, Nova Scotia Education Minister Zach Churchill, alongside Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang, completely changed course on the Nova Scotia back to school plan that was announced just three weeks ago, on July 22, 2020. Prior to the press conference on August 14, outside of school buses, only high school students were required to have a mask and only required to wear one in common areas outside the classroom. I supported this plan as it seemed balanced without overreaching into people’s bodily autonomy that was not based on science, expert opinion or the reality of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, everything has now changed. As of August 14, all students in grades 4 and up are now required to wear a mandatory face mask in all situations unless the following conditions can be met:

  • Sitting down in the classroom
  • Facing forward
  • Desks are 2 metres apart

I think it’s safe to say, especially based on the 3rd criteria above, that this will be near impossible to meet, meaning masks are effectively mandatory for the entire day for all children in grades 4 and above. Dr Robert Strang has indicated these drastic changes are the result of new evidence, that apparently didn’t exist just three weeks ago when the initial back to school plan was announced. As per usual, no proof of this evidence was provided, it was simply a statement that suggests evidence now claims children 10+ are now as likely to transmit the virus as adults are. Not only has no evidence been provided of this, but it was recently reported that there has yet to be a single case, anywhere on Earth, of a student passing COVID-19 to a teacher, and that masking would have prevented it. In fact, there is still no solid evidence that masking really helps spread the virus in any measurable way (especially cloth masks) and even the World Health Organization does not recommend widespread mask use in areas where there is low COVID-19 transmission. WHO information is linked below and summarized as follows:

 

WHO Guidance on Masks

 

There are potential risks and disadvantages that should be taken into account in any decision-making process on the use of masks:

  • Non-medical or fabric masks could increase potential for COVID-19 to infect a person if the mask is contaminated by dirty hands and touched often, or kept on other parts of the face or head and then placed back over the mouth and nose
  • Depending on the type of mask used, could cause difficulty in breathing
  • They can lead to facial skin breakdown
  • They can lead to difficulty with communicating clearly
  • They can be uncomfortable to wear
  • It is possible that mask use, with unclear benefits, could create a false sense of security in the wearer, leading to diminished practice of recognized beneficial preventive measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene.

 

Does WHO recommend the use of fabric masks for the general public?

At the present time, the widespread use of masks everywhere is not supported by high-quality scientific evidence, and there are potential benefits and harms to consider.

However, there are some settings in which it may not be possible to keep physical distancing and the use of a mask could be helpful to provide a barrier to limit the spread of potentially infectious droplets from someone who is infected. In addition, there is some evidence which suggests that some infected people without showing symptoms may be able to transmit the virus others.

For this reason, WHO advises that governments should encourage the use of non-medical fabric masks, which can act as a barrier to prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others where there are many cases of COVID-19, for people in the general public where physical distancing of at least 1 metre is not possible – such as, on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments.

It is important to note that masks should only be used as part of a comprehensive strategy. Masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19. People should also clean their hands frequently and maintain a distance of at least 1 metre from others.

 

 

No where in the WHO’s masking recommendations does it mention children and they are clear that the evidence of their efficacy is not available, nor are they to be used where there are not many cases of COVID-19. I can appreciate a mandatory mask policy in Florida or Texas until the situation is under better control, but in Nova Scotia where there haven’t been any cases outside of travel related in months, it’s not warranted, acceptable or backed by any kind of science, evidence or expert opinion whatsoever. By mandating masks in any scenario, the Government is creating the atmosphere for those who choose not to follow to be ridiculed, bullied, making it more difficult to receive services and overall puts an undue burden on people, especially those with genuine physical and mental health conditions that make wearing a mask impossible or even dangerous. 

For these reasons, I believe it is a blatant, flagrant violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to mandate masks to any population or age group, let alone children as young as 10 years old.

 

Stage 1 of this campaign is to raise enough funds to have a local Constitutional Lawyer investigate the merits of this case and to provide an expert, legal opinion on if and how we can move forward with this Charter challenge.

 

**Note, if we are unable to reach the current goal, refunds will be issued minus a small percentage to cover the costs of advertising this campaign**

 

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