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Trinity Bible Chapel must show proof of COVID-19 safety plan to have doors unlocked

Kitchener -

Trinity Bible Chapel must provide proof of a COVID-19 safety plan to the Ontario government before its doors will be unlocked, a Kitchener judge has ruled.

The church on Lobsinger Line has had its doors ordered locked by an Ontario judge since April 30 for breaking COVID-19 safety protocols.

On Tuesday, the same Kitchener judge, Justice John Krawchenko, ruled indoor services may resume at Trinity Bible Chapel under Step 3 of the province's reopening plan and under certain circumstances.

"To be clear, the respondents shall provide a copy of their safety plan, which is required by law to the applicant, prepared in accordance with this regulation, and provide proof of its posting at the church, at which point the applicant shall cause the locks to be changed to allow the reopening of the church," Krawchenko said at a Zoom hearing.

The applicant in the case is the Crown Attorney for the Ontario government.

Justice Krawchenko also fined the church and its elders for a second round of contempt of court findings.

Trinity Bible Chapel has been ordered to pay $35,000 and Pastor Jacob Reaume $10,000.

Five other church elders were also fined for a total of $40,000.

Will Schuurman was fined $10,000, while Dean Wanders, Randy Frey, Harvey Frey and Daniel Gordon were each fined $7,500.

"The orders that were in place and breached related to compliance with public health and safety in the context of a worldwide pandemic," Krawchenko said. "The conduct of the contemnors exercising their leadership roles individually and as an institution in knowingly breaching the orders was very serious. The breaches were not technical in nature, but flagrant."

A constitutional challenge by Trinity Bible Chapel along with the Church of God in Aylmer and the Wellandport United Reformed Church in Niagara Region is expected to be heard in court this fall. Top Stories

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