On April 21, Robert Bristol attended outside Kingston City Hall with an “End Lockdowns” sign to protest the province-wide lockdown. Mr. Bristol was alone, and wearing a mask. He was nevertheless approached by two Kingston municipal police officers and issued a ticket for failing to comply with the stay at home order. Mr. Bristol filmed the entire interaction.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation is assisting Robert Bristol of Kingston in fighting a ticket he received for protesting alone and masked in front of city hall.

While we at the CCF usually do not take on individual ticket cases, we think this story is just too absurd not to get involved. We are helping Mr. Bristol to fight this ticket, and we are also challenging the stay at home order, specifically, the restriction on outdoor protests.

This is an important case for freedom of assembly and expression and the right of the public to protest against government policies. COVID does not spread easily outdoors. If the government can use this as a reason to limit protests of their policies, they could just as easily limit protests for creating other slightly risky scenarios. For example, there is a risk of public disruption and violence at many protests. This risk is actually higher than the risk of spreading COVID outdoors, especially when one is alone and wearing a mask, as the protestor in this case was.

Along with the legal challenge, the CCF has launched a petition demanding Doug Ford repeal the stay at home order and permit outdoor protests.

June 24, 2021: CCF Victory: charges dropped against lone protestor in Kingston

Defending the right to protest: Robert Bristol

CCF Launch: May 11, 2021
Jurisdiction: Ontario
Status: Closed
Next Key Date: Closed

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