Queensland Discards Vaccine Mandates at Most Workplaces

The Queensland state government of Australia is scrapping COVID-19 vaccine mandates in a large number of workplaces, including schools, childcare, airports, jails, aged care, and disability facilities.

“Restrictions that have protected us have eased in sensible stages, and today, I announce with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, we are removing some of the last remaining COVID restrictions,” she told parliament on Friday.

From 1 a.m. on June 30, most workplaces that have only been allowing vaccinated staff to work will be open to all. This includes kindergartens, daycare prisons, youth detention centres, and airports.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath speaks during a press conference in Burleigh Heads, Australia, on Nov. 15, 2021. (Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Queensland’s mandates will continue to be in place for workers in healthcare, hospital, aged care, and disability care facilities.

Private employers, including schools, daycares, prisons, and airports, may also continue to impose mandates as desired.

“As we move to the next stage of the pandemic, we will be adjusting our approach in relation to mandatory vaccinations,” Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said in a release.

D’Ath said while most PCR testing and fever clinics will also close shop, people should use rapid antigen tests to check if they have the virus. A small number of state-run facilities will still be offered.

“They should isolate if they test positive, and they should stay home while they have acute respiratory symptoms,” she said.

Vaccine Requirements Removed in the Other States

Meanwhile, unvaccinated teachers in New South Wales could also be allowed back in the classroom from next month.

NSW Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson said that nearly 1,000 staff who resigned or were terminated for not complying with the vaccine mandate could reapply to return to work at school.

This move would be welcomed as Australia’s current winter season creates staffing stress across the sector.

“Like all employers right now, we face unprecedented numbers of staff calling in sick due to COVID-19 and the flu,” she said.

Mandates for the booster vaccine dose in Victoria will also be lifted for workers in education, food distribution, and quarantine settings, with vaccine policies to be decided at the discretion of individual workplaces.

Jessie Zhang


Jessie Zhang is a reporter based in Sydney covering Australian news, focusing on health and environment. Contact her at jessie.zhang@epochtimes.com.au.

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The Merger of Public Health, Surveillance Tech, and Policing Powers

This episode will premiere on Sat. April 9, at 7 p.m. ET. 

“This welding of public health with digital technologies of surveillance and control and the police powers of the state allows for intrusions on our privacy, on our bodily autonomy that are unprecedented in history.”

I sit down with psychiatrist medical ethicist Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, Chief of Medical Ethics at the Unity Project and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He previously was a professor at UC Irvine and Director of UCI Health’s Medical Ethics Program before he was fired for refusing vaccination.

“I think this biomedical security state apparatus that has been put in place during the pandemic will remain in place and will be redeployed for other purposes,” says Dr. Kheriaty.

We discuss egregious violations of medical ethics he’s seen over the course of this pandemic and the deadly consequences of these policies. Among working-age Americans, there’s been an unprecedented 40% rise in all-cause mortality—most of which is not due to COVID-19.

“Something is going on that is producing catastrophically bad outcomes.”

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MPs Hear From Victims of Australian Government’s COVID-19 Measures at Cross Party Inquiry

A group of Australian federal and state MPs have convened a cross-party inquiry into the country’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, hearing from experts and victims of the state and federal government’s epidemic measures.

Chaired by Queensland One Nation Sen. Malcolm Roberts, the cross-party inquiry includes Coalition Queensland federal MP George Christensen, New South Wales United Australia Party leader MP Craig Kelly, Queensland One Nation state MP Stephen Andrew, South Australian Coalition Sen. Gerard Rennick, South Australian Coalition Sen. Alex Antic, and more.

Among the speakers at the inquiry on March 23 was Dr. Phillip Altman, an Australian authority on clinical trials and regulatory affairs with decades of experience, who has challenged the prevailing narrative against the use of ivermectin in treating COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

In photos obtained by The Epoch Times, Altman is seen presenting slides on what he put forward as a “tsunami of misinformation” that flowed from officials to the public.

This included that lockdowns were useful in stopping the spread of the virus, gene-based COVID-19 vaccines were “safe,” children needed to be injected with gene-based vaccines, paper and cloth protective masks were effective, and that early treatment of COVID-19 was not necessary, among others.

In his presentation, Altman put forward a slide titled “Masterclass in Marketing,” with notes that the pharmaceutical companies that developed the COVID-19 vaccines bore no liability in Australia and that COVID-19 vaccines were given early provisional approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (similar to the FDA’s emergency use authorisations in the United States) based on limited data.

Dr. Phillip Altman presents to the Cross Party Inquiry on the Australian Government’s Response to COVID-19 virtually, on March 23, 2022. (George Christensen/Supplied)
Epoch Times Photo
Dr. Phillip Altman presents to the Cross Party Inquiry on the Australian Government’s Response to COVID-19 virtually on March 23, 2022. (George Christensen/Supplied)

Altman’s slides also noted that the vaccines were paid for with taxpayer money in confidential deals between the federal government and the pharmaceutical companies and that these inoculations were then pushed onto the public.

COVID-19 vaccines have taken a central position in the Australian government’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic. For several months, at daily press conferences held by state and territory leaders, Australians have been told to get vaccinated and get booster shots.

At one stage in 2021, state leaders, particularly in Victoria and New South Wales, even refused to ease COVID-19 restrictions until 70 to 80 percent of the population was vaccinated. Then in late 2021, state governments began mandating COVID-19 vaccines for certain industries.

Since then, thousands have lost their jobs for choosing not to take what some experts have deemed experimental vaccines.

At the inquiry on Wednesday, Roberts posted a brief clip showing the proceedings to his Telegram channel on March 23. In the video, Roberts pans the camera around the table of MPs, showing a monitor featuring cardiologist and epidemiologist Dr. Peter McCullough and others joining virtually.

“A huge day of presentations being made to Craig Kelly, George Christensen, Gerard Rennick, Stephen Andrew, Alex Antic and I today at my forum, COVID Questioned,” Roberts wrote on Telegram.

“Hearing from Dr Peter McCullough here,” he said, referring to the monitor.

McCullough is a professor of medicine at Texas A&M College of Medicine in Dallas and is the editor of two medical journals. He has put his career on the line to express his views on the COVID-19 jabs in a climate in the United States where state medical boards have threatened to revoke the licenses of doctors based on the spreading of unidentified “misinformation.”

The inquiry comes after several months of pushback by the public and some politicians against state and federal vaccine mandates, and COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns.

Conservative MPs Christensen and Antic have been steadfast in calling for the restoration of freedoms amidst COVID-19 restrictions, first imposed on the general public amid outbreaks, and later only on the unvaccinated.

Both MPs took to Facebook to speak about the inquiry.

“We will be speaking to victims of provisionally-approved medical procedures, small business, and workers victims of pandemic policies, medical experts and many others,” Christensen wrote on March 23.

“Today I am participating in a cross-party scientific and medical inquiry into COVID treatments, mandates, and responses organised by [Malcolm Roberts] along with Senator Gerard Rennick, Craig Kelly, and George Christensen among others,” Antic wrote on Facebook on March 23.

“We are hearing from pathologists, injured people, business owners, journalists, and health care professionals such as Dr. Peter McCullough.”

Roberts said on his Telegram channel that recordings of the proceedings will be released to uncensored platforms on Friday.

Caden Pearson


Caden Pearson is a writer and editor based Cairns, Australia. He writes mostly on national politics, geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific, and COVID-19 measures and pushback. He has a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au

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58 Percent of Queensland Teachers Won’t Vote Labor at Next State Election: Survey

Around 58 percent of teachers, principals, and other school-based staff surveyed by Queensland Education United (QEU) have said they will not vote for the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the incumbent state government of Queensland, at the next election, as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

In documents obtained by The Epoch Times, QEU sought responses from a total of around 2,400 principals, teachers, teacher’s aids, cleaners, early childhood educators, and other school-based staff on the impacts of the state government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Of these, 65 percent were employed by the state Department of Education, while 20 percent were employed by independent schools, and six percent were employed by Catholic Education.

A broad range of questions were put to them, including where they lived and worked when the mandates were imposed, their education level, years worked, their positions, their COVID-19 vaccination status, their medical exemption status, current employment status, and more.

The results paint a picture of a state education sector in “crisis,” according to Helena from QEU.

“We conducted the survey because we had no idea of knowing the impact mandates were having in the education sector,” Helena told The Epoch Times on March 22.

“There has been no data released and no opportunity for those impacted to have their voices heard. The truth is we didn’t realise the significance of the survey until after we collated and extrapolated the data.

“The number of employees who won’t be returning to education settings and if they do, they won’t be putting in the effort or additional time they once did, is staggering.

“Along with the mental health issues and the treatment of many educators by their employer indicates a crisis in education in the years to come. And it’s our children who will suffer as a result of this,” she said.

The majority of the respondents, around 63 percent, live in Southeast Queensland, the most densely populated region in the entire state.

Eight percent live in Darling Downs and Southwest, seven percent live in Wide Bay-Burnett, six percent live in Central Queensland, three percent in Mackay, Isaac, and Whitsundays; five percent live in North Queensland, and nine percent live in Far North Queensland.

Out of 3,266 responses from around 2,400 respondents, about 391 said their state MP had not replied to their emails about the matter, 40 said their state MP refused to meet with them, and about 108 said their state MP’s office was rude or were not willing to listen.

Meanwhile, 1,431 indicated they had not interacted with their state MP on the matter, but nine said their state MP agreed to meet on the matter.

Based on those interactions, about 58 percent of the respondents indicated they would not be voting for the ALP at the next state election; while about 12 percent indicated they would not be voting for the LNP at the next state election.

Around 20 percent of respondents indicated they would be looking to vote outside the two major parties at the next state election.

The Queensland branch of the ALP did not immediately respond to a request from The Epoch Times for comment.

Impact of Mandates

In the wake of the state’s mandates, only 152 out of the around 2,400 surveyed reported experiencing no adverse impact.

Meanwhile, around 22 percent indicated they had endured social exclusion, while 18 percent reported suffering financial hardship, with 17 percent indicating strained relationships with extended family, nine percent said they now had difficulty paying their mortgages, and nine percent experienced marital or relationship strain, separation, or divorce.

In documents obtained by The Epoch Times, hundreds of teachers have written personal accounts of traumatic experiences they’ve endured in the wake of the state’s vaccine mandates, including receiving “derogatory and discriminating remarks” from colleagues.

Among the accounts, one independent school teacher said they were terminated even though they had a medical exemption, while another suspended teacher had a colleague cancel a catch-up over coffee because she was too scared to be seen with the unvaccinated suspended colleague.

Another teacher wrote that they felt unwelcome at work. “Staff who I thought were very good friends, do not speak to me anymore. My supervisor had not been supportive in understanding my position and personal choice for my body,” the teacher wrote.

In some of the personal trauma statements, school staff described how teachers are struggling to cope without the support they once had and how services have been suspended, such as tuck shops, similar to cafeterias in the United States.

“Before the end of the week one [of the school term] my children’s teachers all looked as if they were falling apart. As a long-time volunteer (and past employee) it has been very hard to stand outside the room and watch my children’s teachers struggle (in Prep especially) at a time when parents are often hands-on volunteering. Our tuck shop has not reopened this year as our volunteers cannot be filled,” one teacher wrote.

A common theme amongst the writers was what they described as a lack of “compassion” from schools they had worked at for many years.

One teacher said they were told by HR the school would push for resignation if they didn’t get vaccinated.

“That didn’t feel right to me so I asked for that in writing three times, but they never gave that to me. When speaking to the union I discovered that doing that is illegal,” the teacher wrote.

“I have been at the school 10 years and have ridden the ups and downs that come with working for that length of time at one school. It made it extremely evident that I was just a number to them and they felt I could easily be replaced. The lack of personal care and compassion I felt was really saddening,” they added.

QEU has also alleged that unvaccinated teachers have reported being suspended without pay until June 2022 as a means of coercion.

Around 68 percent of the survey respondents have said their schools were not functioning or coping well in the first term of 2022. Of those, around 17 percent indicated students or children were told to either stay home due to shortages or school programs were being suspended and children were just being supervised.

Meanwhile, 80 percent of respondents who work at school with mostly First Nations students, categorised by the government as the most vulnerable of students, said they were currently being disadvantaged.

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace speaks to the media during a press conference at Everleigh State School in Brisbane, Australia, on Feb. 1, 2022. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Responding to a question in state parliament about staff shortages at state schools in North Queensland, the education minister said the state’s “back-to-school rollout has been absolutely incredible—the envy of every other state and territory.”

“My officers report that when they have hook-ups about how they are all going, they are envious about the position of Queensland, in spite of the fact that we have one of the most remote, diverse, and regional states in all of Australia,” Grace said.

Grace told the state parliament that teaching absences had been a low 3.2 percent on average throughout the entire pandemic.

“During the COVID pandemic over the past couple of years, we have had no increase and the sky has not fallen in,” she said, adding: “Obviously, individual schools in regional areas may be more impacted, particularly when they are small schools.”

The QEU survey comes after hundreds to thousands of school-based staff were stood down over the vaccine mandates prior to the start of the 2022 school year, with many issued show-cause or suspension without pay notices.

Of those teachers and school-based staff awaiting final outcomes from their dispute processes—The Epoch Times understands that many expect to be terminated—around 46 percent have indicated they might not or will not return to schools.

Meanwhile, only around 10 percent of school-based staff currently on leave intend to return to work once their leave runs out.

Around 75 percent have said that if they do return to school, they were unlikely to put in the same amount of work, such as volunteering for extra duties, which Helena said will impact students.

“In order for choir, sports days, musicals, camps and many other activities that we have all come to accept to be part of our child’s schooling are all extra activities teachers and support staff volunteer to do. We do it because we want our students to have these opportunities. Without teachers and support staff volunteering their time, these activities they won’t go ahead,” she said.

The Queensland Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Caden Pearson


Caden Pearson is a writer and editor based Cairns, Australia. He writes mostly on national politics, geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific, and COVID-19 measures and pushback. He has a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au

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Liberal MP Uncertain If Emergencies Act Is Warranted

A Liberal MP says he is uncertain if the use of the Emergencies Act is warranted, but says he may have to vote in favour of it due to “the fact it is now a confidence vote.”

In a speech on Feb. 21, Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said he has concerns about the invocation of the Emergencies Act by his government and the extension of its measures for 30 days.

“I’m skeptical that the strict legal test was met for the Act’s invocation, and I’m not convinced that the emergency measures should continue to exist beyond today,” Erskine-Smith said.

“I would vote accordingly, but for the fact it is now a confidence vote. The disagreement I’ve expressed here does not amount to non-confidence, and I have no interest in an election at this time.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, using it as a means to quash the protests against COVID-19 mandates and restrictions by truckers and their supporters in Ottawa across the country.

Protesters have now largely been cleared from downtown Ottawa over the weekend. Blockades at several Canada-U.S. border crossings were also cleared and had been reopened since before the Act was invoked.

At a press conference on Feb. 21, Trudeau said any parliamentarians who voted against the Act later that night are doubting the competency of the leadership of the federal government.

“I can’t imagine that anyone who votes ‘no’ tonight is doing anything other than indicating that they don’t trust the government to make incredibly momentous and important decisions at a very difficult time,” he said.

“But like I said, I am confident that the majority of parliamentarians will stand up to support our values, to stand up [to] support our democracy, and to stand up to support their fellow Canadians.”

The NDP has so far said they will support the Liberals on the vote, which will give the minority government enough votes to pass the Act. Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois have opposed it.

Erskine-Smith said he is frustrated that the federal government has not made it clear on which grounds it is relying to define the convoy protests as a “national emergency.”

The Emergencies Act defines a national emergency as “an urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature that (a) seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it, or (b) seriously threatens the ability of the Government of Canada to preserve the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Canada.”

“When we look at the illegal blockades, and the negative impact they wrought on so many lives, there’s a fair argument that they meet the definition of a national emergency, so long as we understand capacity to mean both whether a province could act in theory as well as the reality of their action,” Erskine-Smith said.

“But again, it is the blockades at issue. When we look at the threats of serious violence, the violence that itself must constitute the national emergency at issue, it’s unclear how the definition is met at all.”

At a press conference at Lord Elgin Hotel on Feb. 19, Freedom Convoy spokesman Tom Marazzo disputed the “illegal” claim by the authorities, saying that their protest has always been peaceful.

“There has never been violence in the three weeks that I have been here. … There was no damage,” he said.

In a press release issued on Feb. 17, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) announced it is launching a legal challenge to the Liberals’ invocation of the Emergencies Act. The challenge will be by way of urgent application for judicial review at the Federal Court.

CCF litigation director Christine Van Geyn said the government has invoked the Act as a matter of “political convenience,” which is “illegal and violates the rule of law.”

“Prime Minister Trudeau has set a dangerous precedent by invoking the never before used federal Emergencies Act to address the current situation. The high threshold for declaring a public order emergency in the Emergencies Act has not been met,” said Van Geyn in a statement.

Besides Erskine-Smith, two other Liberal MPs have also criticized Trudeau’s leadership lately.

Liberal MP Joël Lightbound broke ranks with his party on Feb. 8, saying that the Liberals politicized the pandemic at the time of the 2021 election.

“From a positive and unifying approach, a decision was made to wedge, to divide, and to stigmatize. I fear that this politicization of the pandemic risks undermining the public’s trust in our public health institutions,” Lightbound said at a press conference.

Liberal MP Yves Robillard also broke ranks with his party the next day, telling The Hill Times on Feb. 9 that Lightbound “said exactly what a lot of us think.”

Omid Ghoreishi and Noé Chartier contributed to this report.


Isaac Teo is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.

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Senate Fails to Pass CR Amendment to Ban Vaccine Mandate Funding

A GOP senator’s effort to defund vaccine mandates failed Thursday night.

By a vote of 46-47, the Senate failed to pass an amendment written by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, which would have prohibited federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine mandates under the Continuing Resolution (CR) being brought before the chamber before Friday night’s deadline to fund the government.

The CR would extend government funding through March 11 in order to give Congress more time to work on the parameters of a long-delayed federal budget for fiscal year 2022.

Lee and other GOP senators have vowed to slow the passage of the CR if it did not include a ban on federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

“We have consistently opposed President [Joe] Biden’s federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates, which would force millions of Americans to choose between an unwanted medical procedure and being able to provide for their families,” Lee’s letter to colleagues read. “For legal, constitutional, and policy reasons, we remain not only strongly opposed to the mandates, but also firmly convinced that the risk of inaction on our part is unacceptably high.

“These COVID-19 vaccine mandates amount to a serious abuse of both federal power and executive authority. They also further strain the economic and social pressures our society currently faces, while completely ignoring existing evidence-based data on natural immunity from previous COVID- 19 infection.”

If the Senate fails to pass the CR before midnight Friday, the government would be forced into a shutdown, freezing nonessential government spending.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Appeals Judge Blocks Boston’s City Employee COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Massachusetts Appeals Judge Sabita Singh granted an injunction on Tuesday blocking enforcement of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s city employee vaccine mandate until concerns raised by unions are resolved, Boston.com reported.

The unions that raised concern were the Boston Firefighters Local 718, Boston Police Superior Officers Federation, and the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society.

”Given the limited harm to the city and the public health interest it seeks to promote, and the substantial harm likely to be sustained by the unions in the absence of an injunction, the balance of harms favors the issuance of an injunction to preserve the status quo, in view of the unions’ likelihood of success on the merits,” Singh wrote in her order.

An agreement between Boston and unions that requires city employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested weekly will remain in place.

The Boston Police Superior Officers Federation wrote a statement on Facebook praising the decision.

”As we have said from the start, this is not an anti-vaccination fight, instead this is a chance to hold our elected leaders accountable while protecting our member’s labor rights,” the union wrote.

”The decision by Justice Singh demonstrates that when one puts away the far fetched rhetoric and the social media soundbites, the law and the facts are on our side. This is not just a win for our members, this is a win for public safety and the citizens of Boston as a whole,” they added.

A spokesperson for the city responded to the decision in a statement to Boston.com.

”To protect communities and workplaces against COVID-19, courts across the country have repeatedly recognized the rights of state and local governments to require public employees to be vaccinated,” the spokesperson said.

”More than 95 percent of the City’s workforce is vaccinated because of the policy we enacted. Our workers and residents who rely on city services deserve to be protected. We are disappointed by today’s decision and are reviewing it carefully.”

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From NYC Teachers on Vaccine Mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court denied an emergency appeal on Friday from a group of New York City public school teachers seeking to block a vaccine mandate for employees not given a religious exemption, NBC News reported.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees the region where the appeal was filed, rejected the appeal without providing a reason. In October of last year, she rejected a similar appeal by the group without comment as well.

Public school employees have been told they will be fired if they do not either get the vaccine by Monday or waive their legal rights to pursue a challenge, according to ABC News.

The teachers sought an emergency injunction to counter the closely arriving Feb. 14 date, arguing that their religious freedoms were violated because the city considers certain criteria for religious exemptions, according to the emergency appeal, NBC News reported.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate or weekly test requirement for businesses with at least 100 employees, Forbes reported at the time.

At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulation that mandates COVID vaccines for healthcare workers.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Fundraising Site Ordered to Freeze $8.6M for Trucker Convoy Says It Won’t Comply

The Christian fundraising site being used by the Canadian trucker protest known as the “Freedom Convoy” says it won’t comply with a Canadian court order to freeze over $8.6 million in funds donated to the group.

“Know this! Canada has absolutely ZERO jurisdiction over how we manage our funds here at GiveSendGo,” the group said in a tweet. “All funds for EVERY campaign on GiveSendGo flow directly to the recipients of those campaigns, not least of which is The Freedom Convoy campaign.”

Truckers have been protesting in Ottawa for more than two weeks as part of the convoy calling for an end to the government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates and have blocked three border crossings between the U.S. and Canada.

U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this week urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use federal powers to end the blockade as the demonstration is reportedly resulting in $1 billion in daily losses.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Thursday granted a request from the provincial government to freeze access to the funds donated to GiveSendGo. The order “binds any and all parties with possession or control over these donations,” according to a spokesperson for Premier Doug Ford.

“Today, the Attorney General brought an application in the Superior Court of Justice for an order pursuant to section 490.8 of the Criminal Code prohibiting any person from disposing of, or otherwise dealing with, in any manner whatsoever, any and all monetary donations made through the Freedom Convoy 2022 and Adopt-a-Trucker campaign pages on the GiveSendGo online fundraising platform,” Ford’s office said in a statement.

The convoy previously raised more than $10 million with GoFundMe until the platform shut it down and refunded the money at the request of the Canadian government.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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NYC DOE Notifies Unvaccinated Teachers of New Termination Date

NEW YORK—After two months of inaction, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) is making good on its threat to terminate unvaccinated teachers. In emails to them on Jan. 31, the DOE pulled the trigger with a new termination date of Feb. 11.

In the fall of 2021, the DOE offered unvaccinated teachers two packages. The first was they could quit, be paid for all remaining sick days, have health insurance for a year, but would not be allowed to sue the DOE.

The second package was teachers could stay on unpaid leave, have health insurance for a year, but still not be allowed to sue the DOE. Thousands of teachers opted not to accept either offer and were put on unpaid leave in October, 2021. They were told if they did not comply, they’d be fired on Dec. 1.

Nadia Lyakhnovich, a special education teacher in East Harlem, is one of the teachers to be fired.

“I knew this was coming,” she told The Epoch Times. “I didn’t see them going back and giving us our jobs back.”

Rachel Maniscalco, a dual English and special education teacher in Staten Island for both the middle and high school levels, is a participant in three lawsuits.

One is a class action suit against the NYC Department of Health, the NYC Mayors Office, and the DOE. Maniscalco is officially named as the plaintiff, representing unvaccinated teachers. The grounds of the lawsuit is that the mandate is unconstitutional.

The second lawsuit is similar, but represents tenured teachers. They’re arguing that since not getting the jab does not violate their contract, they should be put on paid leave. Nicole Broecker is named as the plaintiff and the United Federation of Teachers is added to the list of defendants.

The third is Maniscalco as a single plaintiff and several of the same defendants. However, in this one she’s not citing a violation of the U.S. Constitution, but of labor laws.

In an email obtained by The Epoch Times, the New York City Department of Education sends a notice of termination to unvaccinated employees on Jan. 31, 2022.

“I did not get this letter,” Maniscalco told The Epoch Times. She speculated it has something to do with the third lawsuit.

“They hate me. They want me gone. But I think I’ve made such a ruckus, that they can’t really do to me what they’ve done to other people,” she said.

In addition to DOE employees, Maniscalco said “every municipal worker” of the City of New York who did not comply will be fired, including personnel from the NYPD, FDNY, and Department of Sanitation. “Thousands of people will be outright terminated,” she said.

“Honestly, deep down I’ve known since this mandate came down,” said Lyakhnovich, “I just had a feeling that my career as a teacher in New York City was over.”

Lyakhnovich has already gotten certified in another state, so she’ll possibly move out of New York next year, most likely to that or another red state.

“And not a blue city in a red state,” she said. “I don’t want to be in that location, either.”

Dave Paone


Dave Paone covers New York City.

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