Manitoba church could face up to $1 million fine for COVID violations

A Manitoba church accused of repeatedly violating COVID-19 restrictions is potentially looking at a fine of up to $1 million.

The Church of God – Restoration, south of Steinbach, has already been ticketed for holding controversial in-person services contrary to public health orders.

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The provincial government says the matter is now heading to court, where a judge will determine a potential penalty. According to the province’s enforcement of public health orders, the maximum penalty is $1 million.

The church has remained defiant throughout the pandemic, with minister Tobias Tissen no stranger to battling in court with provincial authorities over the constitutionality of mask mandates and other restrictions.

The church has openly defied public health orders and has livestreamed in-person church services. It has been fined repeatedly and vowed Tuesday to continue.

“The Church of God (Restoration) would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the government of Manitoba for singling us out as being a church that has faithfully remained open and available to minister to the spiritual needs of the surrounding community,” read a message posted on the church’s Facebook page.

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“As fines levied against us continue to grow, our resolve to obey God rather than man is only solidified and intensified.”

Last month, Tissen — for whom the province recently issued an arrest warrant — declared that he can’t force his worshippers to follow public health orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 because only God has that authority.

–With files from The Canadian Press

–With files from The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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