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B.C. judge dismisses province’s application for injunction to stop in-person church services

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The ongoing debate over church closures in B.C. is causing frustration in the province's religious community, even among churches that are obeying the rules. Ted Chernecki reports. – Feb 17, 2021

A judge has dismissed the B.C. government’s application for an injunction against three churches accused of defying COVID-19 health orders in the Fraser Valley.

Lawyers for the government went to court asking for enhanced powers to stop the services happening at the Riverside Calvary Chapel in Langley, the Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church in Abbotsford and Free Reformed Church of Chilliwack.

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BC Supreme Court decision leaves questions about churches and health orders – Feb 17, 2021

Chief Justice Hinkson said in the ruling while he is not condoning the petitioners’ conduct in contravention of the orders that they challenge, he could not grant the injunction to the province.

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Paul Jaffe, who is representing the churches, said previously his clients were taking stringent precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among their congregants.

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Injunction application against three Fraser Valley churches dismissed – Feb 17, 2021

Read more: B.C. judge questions need for injunction ahead of court challenge to in-person worship ban

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Jaffe said in-person worship was of specific importance to his evangelical clients, who he said are compelled by scripture to meet face to face.

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B.C. government seeks injunction against three churches for holding in-person services – Feb 12, 2021

“I’m not surprised,” Jaffe said Wednesday. “It’s always open to the court to take a deep dive into the facts and the law, I thought, were fairly clear against issuing an injunction.”

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“My clients have been spared the grief and the stress of having to close down.”