A B.C. physician accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 is now under investigation for allegedly writing phoney mask and vaccine exemptions offered through a Kelowna-based website.
CBC News has obtained a four-page “declaration certificate of medical exemption including psychosocial conditions” that was purportedly signed by Dr. Stephen Malthouse and produced through a service called EnableAir.com.
That website appears to be connected to another B.C. doctor, Dr. Gwyllyn Goddard, whose medical licence is temporarily inactive.
A copy of the same certificate has been sent to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. and they are investigating, CBC has confirmed.
A spokesperson for B.C.’s Health Ministry did not answer direct questions about EnableAir.com, but confirmed there is no such thing as an exemption certificate for either masks or vaccines.
EnableAir.com promises “authentic medical exemptions,” including QR codes, for people who are “concerned with totalitarian mainstream narratives,” and advertises the services of five unnamed Canadian physicians.
It’s not clear how much the service costs, but the website warns prospective customers to “mentally prepare for the invoice.”
The certificate allegedly signed by Malthouse includes a two-page preamble invoking the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Constitution, the UN’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights and the Nuremberg Code.
It doesn’t offer any specifics about why the bearer should be exempted from mask and vaccine mandates, but offers a long list of possible reasons, including vaccine allergies but also HIV, autism, “impaired social development,” asthma, eczema, migraines and “personal belief.”
Doctor already faces discipline related to COVID-19
The contact information displayed on the certificate obtained by CBC matches publicly listed contact information for Goddard. The Kelowna post office box is connected to his cannabis consulting firm, CanaBC Services Ltd., and the fax number is listed on his personal website.
Goddard did not respond to emailed questions or text messages, and hung up on a reporter when contacted by phone. The full contents of EnableAir.com were taken offline within hours of that phone call.
Neither Malthouse nor his lawyer, Rocco Galati of Toronto, responded to questions about the certificate.
EnableAir.com advertises that 50 per cent of “post-administrative fees” will be donated to Galati and the Constitutional Rights Centre, an organization he founded. However, Galati told CBC he has no connection to the website.
Malthouse, a family doctor on Denman Island, is already the subject of disciplinary proceedings at the college as well as complaints from at least 10 other physicians.
Over the last year, he’s appeared at several rallies against pandemic-related measures, falsely claiming that COVID-19 is no more deadly than the flu and that vaccines are more dangerous. His musings have gone viral online.
According to a petition Malthouse filed in B.C. Supreme Court in June, he faces a reprimand from the college, which wants to bar him from speaking on issues related to COVID-19. Malthouse has asked the court to block those measures, arguing they’re an infringement on his right to free speech.
Doctors ‘need to provide objective medical evidence’
College registrar Dr. Heidi Oetter said she couldn’t comment on any investigations into Malthouse or EnableAir.com, but the college has a standard for what’s expected of any doctor writing exemptions.
“It’s very clear about the need to provide objective medical evidence. You can’t simply restate something just because the patient wants you to do that,” she said.
“If somebody is signing a letter that is inconsistent with those expectations, they may face an investigation by the college and, if warranted, regulatory action.”
The college posted a notice last week in response to reports of fraudulent exemption letters circulating in the province. It includes guidance for businesses or employers about how to identify a valid exemption.
There’s a very short list of acceptable reasons for an exemption or deferral from a COVID-19 vaccine, including a history of anaphylactic reactions to both mRNA vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, and adenovirus vector vaccines like AstraZeneca.
Ontario’s College of Physicians and Surgeons has barred three doctors from issuing mask and vaccine exemptions in recent weeks. A spokesperson for that college said he couldn’t comment on any possible connection to EnableAir.com.
But one of those physicians, Dr. Patrick Phillips, has promoted EnableAir.com on social media.
Another has a B.C. connection — Dr. Rochagne Kilian previously worked in Williams Lake, and held a medical licence in this province from 2009 to 2014.
Oetter said while the rules are slightly different in B.C., similar restrictions could be placed on doctors here if evidence suggested they were providing fraudulent exemptions.