Mandatory vaccines are causing a flashpoint: but when does it cross the line?

Public outrage over vaccine requirements has grown in recent months with a lot of negative dialogue on social media and in the community.

The question going forward is, at what point does this become a concern from a legal standpoint?

According to privacy lawyer David Fraser, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects freedom of expression, even on social media.

"When it comes to organizing protests and things like that, it is organizing that is not necessarily the issue," said Fraser.

During the pandemic as institutions beef up enforcement of vaccine requirements, some public reaction - mostly on social media - raises questions about the possibility of dialogue crossing a legal line.

"I do think that we need to take a closer look at some of the words that are used in some of the actions are used to whip people into a frenzy," said Fraser.

He says criticism over the pandemic and vaccines have the potential to incite physical violence and can border on criminal harassment, based on legal interpretation.

"We have seen some cases (where) they take a broader look at that and talk about psychological safety, for example," Fraiser said.

Kent MacDonald trains his security workers to communicate with people who are sometimes upset about providing proof of vaccine when it is required to enter certain establishments.

"We have to project approachability," said MacDonald who owns Shadow Security.

These days, MacDonald says, it is a tough job and he directs his employees to be reasonable when faced with hostility.

"If you have concerns, I am willing to listen," said MacDonald. "Sometimes that's all it takes is for someone to feel like they have been heard."

According to Fraser, political leaders have an obligation to condemn unacceptable behaviour. He pointed to Wednesday's comments by Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, as a step in a productive direction.

"If you are unhappy, feel free to leave me the bird when I am walking down the street at me or yell at me," Houston said during Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing.

Houston said he is simply is asking people not to yell at employees paid to enforce vaccine and public health regulations.