Rebecca Abdo v Attorney General of Canada

Updated April 26, 2023

Case Description

Liberty Coalition Canada is assisting Rebecca Abdo, a Medical Laboratory Technologist 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. 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.

LCC has stepped up once again by defending Rebecca’s religious freedom. Rebecca, represented by Mr. Kitchen, applied to the Federal Court of Canada for judicial review of the General Division’s unlawful decision.

Rebecca’s Federal Court application reveals that the General Division member ignored 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.

LCC wholeheartedly supports Rebecca’s position that religious faith is not employee misconduct. What’s more, so does the Supreme Court of Canada, which has ruled that religion is deemed as immutable as race, ethnic origin, colour, and sex precisely because it is changeable only at unacceptable cost to personal identity.

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

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