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Vancouver: A lawyer for a group of British Columbia churches that are challenging the province’s COVID-19 rules is scheduled to resume his arguments today that the restrictions violate his clients’ charter rights.
Paul Jaffe told the B.C. Supreme Court on Monday that provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s orders allow secular gatherings like in-class education, while discriminating against the churches and their congregants’ right to freedom of religion.
He told the court his clients _ which include the Riverside Calvary Chapel in Langley, Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church in Abbotsford and the Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack _ have been careful to adopt safety protocols similar to those approved by Henry in places that remain open.
Jaffe works with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a Calgary-based legal advocacy group that’s also asking the court to dismiss tickets of up to $2,300 each for alleged violations of the orders.
Henry and the province have said they are confident the health orders are in accordance with the law, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The case is scheduled for three days in court this week.