TORONTO: The Canadian Constitution Foundation has contributed to an important victory in the legal challenge of Ontario’s lockdown. Late on Friday, February 5, the Ontario government amended the lockdown regulations, allowing a Kitchener based gym and a few other select gyms to partially re-open.
The gym that brought the challenge, NorthX Fitness, is for any person with an interest in fitness. It also has a special focus on serving individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. NorthX Fitness was seeking an immediate injunction that would suspend the law from applying to it, and was also challenging the constitutionality of the lockdown order.
The CCF is an intervenor in this case.
“The amendments to the lockdown order grant part of the injunction that NorthX Fitness was seeking, with the support of the CCF,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn. “The government has now partially granted the injunction by amending the regulation. They seem to recognize that the lockdown order was having an adverse impact on the health of Ontarians living with disabilities, which is exactly what we were going to argue in court,” continued Van Geyn.
The lockdown order was amended on February 5 to allow gyms to reopen if they cater solely to disabled Ontarians who have a medical note requiring physical therapy that they cannot receive elsewhere. This was the only amendment that was made on February 5.
“Ontarians should not need to go to court in order for the government to recognize their Charter protected rights. These amendments appear to be a direct response to this application. We firmly believe that without litigation, the government would not have amended the lockdown order and would have continued to violate Ontarians’ Charter protected rights,” continued Van Geyn.
The CCF is represented in this matter by lawyer Asher Honickman. “The CCF was in court on February 3 in support of this gym. Our materials put the government on notice that injunctions, like the one being sought by NorthX Fitness, are justified where the government measure infringes on the health and well-being of Canadians, which is protected by the Charter. The government appears to have accepted the strength of our position, by changing the law along the lines of what the injunction was seeking just two days after CCF was granted intervener status.” said Honickman.
The original version of this release can be found here.