Doctor wins right to present current evidence about effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in appeal over suspended hospital privileges

Dr. Ian DePass seeks to regain hospital privileges after a request for exemption from the vaccination policy for hospital staff was denied.

CHATHAM: Dr. Ian DePass, whose hospital privileges were suspended by the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance for failing to comply with its vaccination policy, has secured the right to present new evidence about the effectiveness of vaccines in a hearing that will take place before a review board early next year.

DePass’s hospital privileges were suspended by the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on November 1, 2021, after he failed to obtain a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As a surgical assistant, DePass cannot earn a living from medicine unless he has hospital privileges.  

The hospital board subsequently upheld the suspension in a hearing that took place in February 2022. Since that time, The Democracy Fund (TDF) retained Ontario lawyer Lisa Bildy to represent DePass in a new hearing (de novo) before the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board (HPARB).

The small but critical victory for DePass came in a May 2023 hearing which was convened to determine the scope of the de novo hearing. Bildy argued that the appeal board should consider current evidence about the reasonableness of the vaccine policy that was not before the hospital board in February 2022. The evidence would include current information about the efficacy of the vaccines in preventing the transmission of COVID-19, which the appeal board agreed would be a “relevant consideration” as to whether the vaccination policy was reasonable not only at the time DePass’s privileges were suspended but also at the time when HPARB hears the matter afresh next year.

The hearing is scheduled to begin on January 10, 2024.

To help support and protect Dr. DePass and others like him, you can make a tax-deductible donation to support TDF.

 About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.