This Is A Tough One.

A Canadian family with a 4 year old son suffering from leukemia has been told that they must be vaccinated against COVID or leave the Ronald McDonald House in which they are staying at the end of January.

The family is upset, to say the least.

If you are not aware of the Ronald McDonald House, they provide services for families when a child is facing a serious illness. Instead of families having to stay at expensive hotels or other lodging while the child is getting treatment, the Ronald McDonald Houses provide lodging for the families or rooms where the families can go and decompress. After all, a child with a serious illness is stressful enough.

The Ronald McDonald does all of this for free. There is no charge to the families whatsoever.

While people are outraged at the Ronald McDonald House, they may have been forced into this decision by rules set in place by the government of British Columbia:

Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination Required

As of September 13, 2021, proof of a COVID-19 vaccination is required in British Columbia to access various social, recreational, and public services. Many employers are also now considering whether to implement vaccination policies for their workforce, a topic which has become the subject of controversy. However, it has been demonstrated that carefully drafted mandatory vaccination policies are not in breach of applicable laws, human rights legislation, or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”).

What does the Charter say?

There is a significant amount of misinformation circulating concerning the relationship between the Charter and COVID-19. The Charter provides Canadians with rights and freedoms, including freedom of religion and freedom of expression, as well as the right to life, liberty, and security of person, though, it is important to note that the Charter does not apply to the actions of private businesses. All laws in Canada must comply with the Charter.

It is a common misconception that our Charter rights are absolute and cannot be limited; this is incorrect. Section 1 of the Charter states that the law can limit Charter rights as long as those limits are “reasonable” in a free and democratic society. The key question then becomes whether laws and mandates intended to curb the spread of COVID-19, such as mask mandates and vaccination requirements, are a reasonable infringement on Charter rights. Learn more about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms here.

Clearly the Ronald McDonald House would fall into the category of a “public service.” Furthermore, it is clear that the families, and more specifically, the children that all who are staying at or visiting the Ronald McDonald House will have compromised immune systems due to the treatment of various diseases such a leukemia.

While we are not fans of mandatory vaccinations, there are two reasons that in this case, we lean ever so slightly toward the Ronald McDonald House:

1) It appears that the Ronald McDonald House would be at the very least cited or at most forced to close its doors if it does not comply with the orders from the Canadian government. We see no overall benefit to that outcome.

2) The Ronald McDonald House is providing these services for free. Families don’t pay a dime. There is an old saying of “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” and it applies here, in our opinion. If you don’t want to take advantage of the charity work the Ronald McDonald House is providing because of a governmental or McDonald’s policies, the solution is to go elsewhere.

To some extent, we are caught between the idea of a family facing stress due to a medical condition of a child and the idea that the family’s stance may result in other families being forced away from the Ronald McDonald House if it has to close. There is something that bothers us with someone saying “we demand that you follow our beliefs while we take advantage of the money, food and accommodations you provide us for free.”

Or, if you are a believer in the efficacy of the vaccine(s), the family seems to be saying “we have the right to infect others in the house.”

When we watch the provided video, there is a child that is bouncing around in and out of the shot once in awhile. That’s the way kids should be at that age. We don’t know if that is the child that has leukemia, but it is clear that even if it is not, that child is happy and having fun which is what children should do. Despite either personally facing leukemia or a sibling facing leukemia, the child has a place where he can be free to act like a child, and that is tough to do in hospital waiting rooms or hotels. Also notice that the father is wearing just socks. He is comfortable in the Ronald McDonald house to literally take off his shoes and walk around.

To us, this shows that the Ronald McDonald House is doing what they promise – providing a stress free environment for families when a member of that family is facing a medical crisis.

This is a very tough case. We want to support the family that is on camera, but at the same time, if the Ronald McDonald House does not follow the law, they risk fines and or closing which means less help available for other families.

We are glad we are not the ones having to implement this policy. We understand that people are going to say that the Ronald McDonald House is wrong and should be ashamed for “evicting” a family in need.

We don’t have any good answers for this, but for right now, we lean toward the Ronald McDonald House abiding by the law rather than facing denying other families their services. We don’t see the Ronald McDonald House as the evil monster here. We see them as the victim of one size fits all policies in a world where general policies for everyone never seem to work.

We wish the family, and specifically the kid with leukemia, a good outcome to their medical crisis.

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