TORONTO: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to announce that two Public Health Act tickets issued against Pastor Rene McIntyre and her church, Trumpet Of Truth Christian Ministries, in Woodstock Ontario, have been dropped by the Crown.
The Justice Centre represents numerous pastors across Canada who have been ticketed for allegedly breaching public health orders by holding normal worship and prayer services for their congregates.
Pastor René McIntyre is the founder and lead pastor of Trumpet Of Truth Christian Ministries and the founder of a local mission called The Refuge, which is a care centre for the city’s most vulnerable addicts and homeless population.
On Sunday, December 27, 2020, Pastor McIntyre held a service at her church for approximately 60 people. Congregants were spaced out with only 5 chairs per row. Hand sanitizers, signage and masks were also made available for all who came for the service. However, police attended the church and Pastor McIntyre was subsequently charged. She was charged again on January 11, 2021 after holding an evening prayer service.
The Justice Centre carried out extensive negotiations with the Crown, and as a result, the Crown has agreed to drop the charges against Pastor McIntyre.
Canada has been the only democratic country where pastors have been charged, arrested and imprisoned for holding worship and prayer services during Covid-19.
“It’s troubling to see Canada persecuting pastors exercising their Charter rights and freedoms to practice their religion,” says Sayeh Hassan, an Ontario-based Staff Lawyer with the Justice Centre.
“Pastors have been instrumental in keeping their congregates hopeful and mentally strong during these difficult times. Sadly, Canada is the only democratic country where pastors have not only been charged, but arrested and even imprisoned for exercising their Charter rights to practice their religion. We are now starting to see similarities between the treatment of pastors in Canada and less tolerant countries like Iran and China where pastors are regularly persecuted for practicing their religion. This is a trend all Canadians should be very concerned about,” adds Ms. Hassan. "The existence of a virus does not remove people’s fundamental freedoms to attend church and worship according to their beliefs.”