Rebecca Abdo v Attorney General of Canada

Updated March 2024

Case Description 

Liberty Coalition Canada is assisting Rebecca Abdo, a Medical Laboratory Technician from Calgary who was ousted from her job with Canadian Blood Services after more than 10 years of service. Rebecca is a devout, Bible-believing Christian who believes submitting to COVID “vaccination” is not God’s will for her life.

When Canadian Blood Services implemented a mandatory “vaccination” policy in September 2021, it promised to respect workers who were unable to receive the injections for religious reasons by accommodating them, as the law requires. However, when Rebecca applied for her religious exemption, Canadian Blood Services wouldn’t hear of it—stating that Rebecca’s biblically-informed beliefs were merely “personal beliefs”. Rebecca’s employer also required Rebecca to provide proof from a “spiritual leader” and insisted the religion must prohibit vaccination generally. Both requirements are unlawful. CBS placed Rebecca on an “unpaid leave” on November 1, 2021 and fired her two weeks later.

But the persecution of Rebecca did not end there. When she applied for Employment Insurance benefits in December 2021, the EI Commission denied her application, stating that she had been fired from her job “because of [her] own misconduct”, as though living out her faith was somehow bad conduct. Rebecca next asked the Commission to reconsider its position, but it upheld the decision that she had committed misconduct at her job and was not entitled to benefits.

At this point, James Kitchen, Chief Litigator at LCC, began to represent Rebecca, arguing before the General Division of the Social Security Tribunal in November 2022 that she was entitled to EI benefits. The General Division agreed with the Commission that Rebecca’s adherence to her Christian beliefs was misconduct by ignoring the actual circumstances of Rebecca’s dismissal, a section of the Employment Insurance Act which states that an employee must be given the “benefit of the doubt” in such situations, and that adhering to sincerely-held religious beliefs is a mere matter of choice. The member compared Rebecca’s conduct—faithfulness to God and obedience to His Word—with cases wherein employees had been fired for abusing alcohol and failing drug tests.

Rebecca and Mr. Kitchen appealed the decision of the General Division to the Appeals Division of the Tribunal, explaining the mistakes the General Division member had made, but it was no use: in March 2023, the Appeals Division said Rebecca’s appeal had no chance of success. An application for judicial review to the Federal Court was also rejected.

But she and Liberty Coalition Canada aren’t giving up! LCC Chief Litigator, James Kitchen, has filed an Appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, which will hear the Appeal later this year.

The Appeal will focus exclusively on the central issue in this case: whether Rebecca Abdo “chose” not to take the COVID vaccines. The rather obvious fact is that Rebecca did not merely “choose” not take the shots the same way someone “chooses” what to wear each morning. She was unable to take the shots because she could not choose to violate her Christian beliefs and what she believed was God’s will for her life.

Canadian law actually recognizes that religious individuals cannot simply change their beliefs in the Supreme Court of Canada cases of Corbiere v Canada, [1999] 2 S.C.R. 203, Quebec v A, 2013 SCC 5, and Amselem, 2004 SCC 47. Despite this, the Social Security Tribunal and Federal Court judge relied on the fiction that Rebecca “voluntarily chose” to violate her beliefs by taking the shots and therefore “chose” to engage in misconduct and should be denied EI benefits.

Mr. Kitchen will be asking the Federal Court of Appeal to correct this error and address the issue of Rebecca’s involuntary decision to act in accordance with her beliefs. The legally correct thing for the Federal Court of Appeal to do is to rule that Rebecca could not help but adhere to her beliefs, that, as a result, she did not willfully engage in misconduct, and, therefore, is entitled to her EI benefits like any other Canadian, regardless of their beliefs.

So far, courts and tribunals have nearly always sided with the government’s narrative that everyone who was fired for not taking the COVID shots should also be denied EI benefits. Rebecca Abdo, James Kitchen, and Liberty Coalition Canada hope to put an end to this unjust oppression of unvaccinated people.

Please join LCC and Rebecca in her fight for religious protection in the workplace and beyond by donating to the Liberty Defense Fund, through which LCC provides free legal representation to Rebecca.

"Sometimes your freedom is not taken away at gunpoint but instead, one piece of paper at a time, one seemingly meaningless rule at a time, one small silencing at a time. Never allow the government or anyone else–to tell you what you can or cannot believe or what you can and cannot say or what your conscience tells you to do or not do."

- Armando Valladares

Legal Documents
STay connected
The Liberty Coalition of Canada © 2024
Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions