Canadian Constitution Foundation intervening in legal challenge of Ontario lockdown TODAY

Canadian Constitution Foundation intervening in legal challenge of Ontario lockdown TODAY

TORONTO: Today the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) will be participating in the legal challenge of Ontario’s lockdown on religious worship as an intervenor in a case brought by Toronto International Celebration Church. The church is seeking an injunction to suspend the enforcement of the arbitrary ten-person limit on religious worship.

“The ten-person limit on religious gatherings is arbitrary and damaging. The members of this church, with capacity for over 1,000 congregants, can’t even gather for a socially-distant, mask mandated song-free Christmas service. Yet religious services are allowed to proceed at 50 per cent capacity in ‘red zones’ just 20 kilometers away. It makes no sense,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn.

The CCF was granted intervenor status on Tuesday, December 15. The government filed seven affidavits, and four government witnesses were cross examined. The Pastor of Toronto International Celebration Church, Peter Youngren, was also cross examined.

The church has emphasized the importance of in-person worship, and has taken extensive measures to ensure the safety of the congregants. These include blocking off aisles, requiring congregants to immediately take their socially-distanced seats, requiring masks, providing hand-sanitizer, eliminating the choir, and even providing communion wine in pre-packaged individual portions.

“Christmas is an extremely significant time for Christians to celebrate, and the government cannot arbitrarily come in and cancel Christmas for thousands of people,” continued Van Geyn. “The right to freedom of religion is one of our oldest and most fundamental rights, and the limits the government has imposed are not rational or justified.”

The CCF will be represented by Toronto lawyer Ryan O’Connor.

“We look forward to going to court to defend the Charter right of Ontarians to safely celebrate Christmas – and to argue against lockdown rules which offend the constitution” said Mr. O’Connor.

For the original version of this release see here.