Pastor, other elders charged for services at Trinity Bible Chapel
KITCHENER -- The Region of Waterloo says six elders, including the pastor, at Trinity Bible Chapel have been charged following in-person services over the weekend.
The elders and the church corporation itself were charged for hosting a gathering exceeding the limit under the provincial lockdown.
The region said the pastor and one elder have also been charged for attending a gathering of more than 10 people.
The region said they laid nine charges in total. Fines start at $10,000 and can go to $100,000 for individuals and $10 million for corporations.
Under the lockdown rules, indoor church services are capped at 10 people. The two services on Sunday had hundreds of people in attendance.
Trinity Bible Chapel was served a contempt of court order on Tuesday and appeared in court on Wednesday morning to respond.
The church's lawyer, Lisa Bildy, said the church is now prepared to suspend in-person worship for the duration of the lockdown.
The judge made an oral finding of guilt on Wednesday morning, with a written reasoning to follow.
A lawyer speaking on behalf of the Attorney General, who issued to order, argued the church was aware of the order and still held services for hundreds of people.
Bildy also hinted they may file a Charter of Rights challenge.
CTV News Kitchener asked regional officials if they intend to charge people who attended the gatherings and went against the stay-at-home order, but hadn't received an answer by 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Waterloo regional police also did not respond to CTV News Kitchener's request for comment on the investigation and whether or not charges are pending for the people who attended.
Aylmer police have charged 47 people for organizing and attending a service at Church of God.
"It's a clear violation and those that are in attendance are actively participating in the breach of that order," Chief Zyonko Horvat said.
He added at least five more charges are pending.
With reporting by CTV News Kitchener's Natalie van Rooy