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Lakehead to host 'Vaccine and the Charter' panel discussion

Webinar, open to the public, will be held on Thursday, Sept. 23 at noon and questions will be answered
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The global pandemic has ignited debate about the constitutionality of mandatory vaccinations.

On Sept. 23, Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law will host an expert panel to delve into vaccine mandates and discuss legalities around the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.    

Open to the public, the session, “Vaccine Mandates and the Charter”, will feature Dr. Mariette Brennan, Associate Professor in the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, and Dr. Vanessa Gruben, Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. The panel will be hosted by Dr. Jula Hughes, Dean of the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law.

The session will be held on Thursday, Sept. 23, at noon. Questions will be taken via chat during the webinar.

The panel will be conducted via Zoom. Register at  

Meet the Panel:


Dr. Jula Hughes is the Dean of Law at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University. The recipient of multiple research grants, Dr. Hughes has published extensively in Canadian and international journals, has contributed chapters to various selections of essays and is a regular speaker at international, national and regional conferences.

Her research focuses on judicial ethics, particularly the law and practice of judicial disqualification, criminal law, particularly the application of criminal law to marginalized populations, and Aboriginal law, particularly the legal recognition of and provision of services to off-reserve and non-status Aboriginal people.


Dr. Mariette Brennan is an Associate Professor at Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law. Dr. Brennan completed her Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa and was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2004. Following her call to the Bar, Brennan moved to England to pursue her LL.M at the University of Essex in international human rights law. 

She completed her thesis on the international right to health under the supervision of then United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to the highest attainable standard of health, Paul Hunt. Mariette graduated with distinction in 2006; in 2012, she received her PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.  In 2008, Dr. Brennan began her academic career with the Faculty of Law, Bond University (QLD, Australia). 

She returned to Canada in 2013 and was a founding faculty member of the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law.  In 2015, she was appointed as a stipendiary assistant professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Dr. Brennan’s research interests currently lie in the intersection of constitutional law and public health law.

Prof. Vanessa Gruben is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law where she teaches property law and family law. After graduating from the University of Ottawa’s Common Law program, she clerked for Chief Justice Richard of the Federal Court of Appeal and then Justice Bastarache of the Supreme Court of Canada.

She was called to the bar in Ontario in 2003, after which she practiced as an associate in the litigation group of a national law firm. She joined the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law as an assistant professor after graduating as a James Kent Scholar from Columbia University’s Master of Laws program.

Gruben’s research focuses on the legal regulation of various aspects of assisted human reproduction including contractual disputes over frozen embryos, privacy and access to information, gamete donor anonymity, the regulation and funding of assisted reproductive technologies, and the constitutionality of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

Her research also includes health law more generally as well as the protection of language rights in Canada. In addition to her research work, Gruben has appeared on behalf of Amnesty International Canada before the Supreme Court of Canada in Charkaoui v. Canada, [2007] 1 S.C.R. 350; Charkaoui v. Canada, [2008] 2 S.C.R. 326; and Khadr v. Canada, [2010] SCC 3 and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. She is also a member of the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board and the Health Services Appeal and Review Board.