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B.C. daycare OK to remove family for not getting COVID-19 vaccine: ruling

B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal rejects claim for terminated contract, emotional distress

Not all parents have allowed their children to be vaccinated to protect against COVID-19.

That decision got one B.C. family removed from the child-care facility they sent their two young children to – leading the mom to unsuccessfully take the operator to court.

The B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal has ruled against the mom, who was looking for a refund of $3,137.65 after the daycare terminated the contract with notice of five weeks. That amount includes damages for mental distress. The tribunal decision does not name the daycare or the mom to protect the identity of the children involved. Both children were under the age of five.

The mom – listed as JM – also wanted the tribunal to order the daycare operator to stop “her alleged public campaign” to discredit the mom’s reputation, but the decision declined to grant the order.

The two children were unvaccinated when they started going to a daycare operated by KM, and told JM that she was “hopeful” the kids would be vaccinated “soon.”

Months later, KM followed up on the issue with JM.

“I find KM and JM had some further verbal discussions about this issue where JM advised that her husband did not want the children vaccinated and KM advised that unvaccinated children were a ‘no go,’” said the tribunal decision.

That’s when KM gave the notice of five weeks that the contract would be terminated.

JM claimed that KM breached the terms of the contract and owed money to cover losses.

The tribunal addressed JM’s claims about breach of contract, eventually siding with KM.

“I find that on September 23, 2022, KM gave JM 5 weeks’ notice to end childcare services if the children were not vaccinated,” says the decision. “I find in doing so, she provided more than one full month’s notice.

“As noted, JM alleges that KM requiring the children to be vaccinated was a unilateral change to the contract’s terms. However, as noted, KM was permitted to change her COVID-19 policies, and to terminate the contract immediately if anyone failed to follow those policies. KM was also entitled to terminate the contract on reasonable notice.

“I find 5 weeks is a reasonable amount of notice for JM to comply with the policy change or have the contract terminated. The fact that KM terminated the contract because she did not wish to provide care to unvaccinated children does not change that she was entitled to unilaterally terminate the contract on reasonable notice, and does not mean that her reason for terminating the contract amounts to a unilateral breach of contract.

“I find that KM had fulfilled her obligations under the contract, and had provided reasonable notice as required.”

The tribunal dismissed all claims.

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