Skip to content

Man barred from exclusive Vancouver club over COVID-19 vaccine rules sues

Judge rejects Saul Kahn’s claim Arbutus Club was ‘unfairly prejudicial’
The Arbutus Club in Vancouver has a wealthy clientele. (Arbutus Club photo)

A man sued an exclusive Vancouver club for thousands of dollars after he was barred from it for not complying with a rule requiring proof of a vaccination against COVID-19.

But Saul Kahn didn’t get the results he was looking for after the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal dismissed his claim against the Arbutus Club.

Kahn had been a member of the Arbutus Club for about 20 years after paying an entrance fee of $22,500. The Arbutus Club offers an assortment of services, including sports like tennis, spa treatments and fine dining.

Kahn was paying monthly dues of $250.22. But then the club barred Kahn from Sept. 13, 2021 to April 8, 2022 because he refused to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination for himself.

“Mr. Kahn says the Club acted in an unfairly prejudicial manner by barring members who did not provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. I note that Mr. Kahn frames his claim more broadly to be about ‘confidential medical information including proof of vaccination’ but does not make any allegations about anything other than proof of vaccination.”

Kahn was looking for a refund of $1,939.12 for a refund of his dues during this period, plus $1,000 in interest the club was “unjustly enriched” by after barring him. Kahn also sued so the Arbutus Club would stop barring other members over not providing confidential medical information, including proof of vaccination. Kahn also wanted names and emails of anyone who was also barred from the club, or that the club would contact those members and ask them to email Kahn.

“The Club disagrees,” said the CRT ruling. “It says the Provincial Health Officer’s (PHO) orders required it to temporarily check for proof of vaccination before allowing members access to its facilities. It denies acting in an unfairly prejudicial manner.”

The club also said the CRT lacks jurisdiction over this matter.

Kahn, according to the CRT, wasn’t the only person who objected to the club asking for proof of vaccination as a group hired a lawyer to fight it.

The CRT ruling says the Arbutus Club correctly enforced a public health order.

“I find the Club’s policy was a fair resolution of conflicting interests. As noted in the PHO’s order, the Club had an obligation to verify proof of vaccination for persons entering its place. The Club essentially interpreted ‘place’ to mean the entire building, rather than parts of it. I find the Club’s interpretation was reasonable, particularly as the order’s purpose was to impede the spread of an infectious disease.”

Kahn offered some suggestions to keep unvaccinated club members out of certain areas, including the “use of distinctive wristbands and facial recognition software paired with security cameras.”

The CRT was unpersuaded by the feasibility of this.

The CRT noted that Kahn had tried to convince the club that the COVID-19 vaccines were ineffective.

“Mr. Kahn says that the PHO’s order was itself unnecessary and ‘scientifically unwarranted.’ In particular, he says that in January 2022 he emailed the Club about a group of individuals in Antarctica that showed vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 were ineffective.”

“With respect, I find that Mr. Kahn could not reasonably expect the Club to prefer his conclusions over the PHO’s,” the ruling said.

In the end, the CRT dismissed Kahn’s claims.

Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
Read more