Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of Harvest Ministries on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of Harvest Ministries on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

B.C.’s COVID restrictions on in-person worship to be tested in court

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms says court date is set for March 1 to 3

B.C. officials will be challenged in court for their COVID-19 restrictions on worship services.

The court challenge – set to begin March 1 and take three days – coincides with a similar challenge also filed in Manitoba by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

In a statement Friday (Jan. 29), the centre argued that the health orders which ban in-person worship services are an “infringement of British Columbians’ constitutional rights” under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

WATCH: B.C. church defies provincial ban on in-person services for a second time

The legal challenge, filed on Jan. 8, is in response to several churches across the province being ticketed for disobeying the health orders. Such churches include in Chilliwack, Langley and Kelowna.

In a previous news release, the centre announced it would be representing the following churches in the case:

  • Alain Beaudoin
  • Brent Smith
  • Free Grace Baptist Church – Chilliwack
  • Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack – Chilliwack
  • Grant Reich
  • Heather Lucier
  • Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church – Abbotsford
  • Jack Schoeman
  • James Butler
  • John Koopman
  • Jonah Zryd
  • Kelowna Harvest Fellowship – Kelowna
  • Riverside Calvary Chapel – Langley
  • Timothy Champ
  • Valley Heights Community Church – Chilliwack
  • 100 Mile House Baptist Church – 100 Mile House

In-person worship services were banned on Nov. 19 amid a surge in new confirmed cases in B.C. Those who do not follow these protocols face a $2,300 fine. Repeat offenders can also face charges under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act.

READ MORE: RCMP submit reports to BC Prosecution Service after three Chilliwack churches continue in-person worship


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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