A church in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada was fined $80,000 for not allowing a health inspector inside the church building during Sunday morning services on March 7, March 14 and June 5 in 2021.
The inspector was there to ensure that the Church in the Vine was obeying social distancing and mask rules, but its pastor, Tracy Fortin, refused to allow the inspection to take place, CBC reports.
Describing this refusal as “deliberate and intentional acts”, the judge fined the church $80,000 and gave it until the end of August to pay the fine. If the church doesn’t cough up the money by that time, it could face civil forfeiture. The Alberta government was seeking a $120,000 fine.
Citing the Canada Charter of Rights that guarantees freedom of religion, the Church in the Vine plans to appeal the decision.