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Will Teichgraber v Alberta Health Services

Will Teichgraber v Alberta Heath Services: Denial of Religious Accommodation Regarding the COVID Vaccines.

Case Description

Will Teichgraber is a dentistry student at the University of Alberta and a Christian. Thanks to the efforts of Liberty Coalition Canada’s Chief Litigator, James S. M. Kitchen, Will is graduating in the Spring of 2022 upon completing his practicum requirements. A professor has described Will as one of his best students in terms of clinical efficiency, professionalism, and patient management, and Will has received accolades from his classmates. Will is getting married in April 2022 and will be starting his career at a busy clinic in a small, underserved town in northern Alberta.

The Alberta Health Services (AHS) implemented the exclusion of all persons who had not received the COVID vaccines by November 30, 2021 from all AHS facilities, including the dental clinic where Will’s practicum placement had been taking place. Will is unable to receive the COVID vaccines due to his Christian religious beliefs. The University of Alberta granted him a religious exemption, but that applied only to University property or buildings.

Will could not fulfill his degree requirements without securing an alternate practicum placement, so he approached several private dental clinics that were willing and able to provide the necessary supervision and practical experience. He obtained letters from three dentists confirming that they would supervise him and satisfy any reasonable and legitimate concerns that the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry might have. He also obtained a letter of support from an Assistant Clinical Professor with the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.

The University of Alberta rejected Will’s proposed terms of accommodation of finishing his practicum requirements in private clinics. In rejecting the proposal, the University cited a number of administrative burdens, extra costs, and increased liability. The University’s position was that the only possible accommodation was that Will delay indefinitely finishing his degree.

As such, Will and Mr. Kitchen turned their attention to AHS, demanding AHS adhere to their obligations at law to not discriminate against Christian students by providing accommodation. In January 2022, AHS, facing several lawsuits and demands from students, doctors, and health care workers, was finally compelled by the Alberta Minister of Health to resile from its COVID vaccine mandate and permit COVID unvaccinated individuals to attend AHS cites if they provided negative COVID test results. Will was therefore able to resume his practicum.

AHS couldn’t help but threaten that COVID unvaccinated individuals may yet again be excluded in March 2022, when its vaccine mandate would be revisited. However, by the time March had rolled around it had become even more difficult than before to suppress the scientific evidence the COVID vaccines do not prevent infection and transmission. Again, the Minister of Health intervened by directing that AHS permanently abandon not only its vaccine mandate, but the mandatory testing of COVID unvaccinated individuals. This meant Will was in the clear to finish his practicum and graduate.

The successful resolution of Will’s case was made possible by three things: the courage of Will, the efforts of Mr. Kitchen, and the donations of those who generously gave to Liberty Coalition Canada. Please consider donating so more people like Will can receive justice and liberty can have more of a fighting chance in Canada.

"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
CUBAN POET

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