COVID-19 is a virus that can cause a serious medical illness, the risk of which can be effectively minimized by vaccinations. Recently, in Alberta, there has again been a very significant increase in infections with hospitalizations and admissions into intensive care rising rapidly. On September 15, 2021, the government of Alberta declared a further state of public health emergency.
The Court of Appeal of Alberta, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and the Provincial Court of Alberta (the Courts) have a responsibility to provide a safe workspace that protects the health and safety of individuals who work in, visit, or attend the Courts’ workspaces. Accordingly, the Courts have adopted mandatory Vaccination Policies which will be in effect as of Tuesday, September 21, 2021. These Policies apply to all secure areas of courthouses used by judicial officers and certain staff to which public access is restricted.
As each of the three Courts has unique operational requirements, their respective Policies contain minor differences that address each Court’s specific needs. That said, the principles and purpose that underlie each Court Policy are consistent.
Effective October 8, 2021, counsel, service providers and visitors wishing to access the secure areas of Alberta courthouses to which public access is restricted will be questioned about their vaccination status. Those who have not been vaccinated or who have not received a negative test from a privately-paid negative PCR or privately-paid negative rapid test completed not more than 48 hours prior to entry will be denied entry.
Catherine A. Fraser, Chief Justice of Alberta
Mary T. Moreau, Chief Justice, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta
Derek G. Redman, Chief Judge, Provincial Court of Alberta