Former MPP Randy Hillier Challenges Constitutionality of Ontario’s Stay-At-Home Order in Court Today

TORONTO, ON: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms announces today that former MPP Randy Hillier’s constitutional challenge against Ontario’s Stay-At-Home Order, and the subsequent complete ban on protests, from April to June of 2021 will be heard on Thursday July 27 and Friday July 28, 2023 at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. The hearing can be watched live

The Ontario government imposed a Stay-at-Home Order on April 8, 2021, requiring everyone to remain at home except for pre-determined essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, which effectively banned outdoor peaceful protests. Mr. Hillier was a sitting MPP at the time, and he heard from many of his constituents that they were experiencing significant harms from the many lockdowns already imposed by the Ontario government. He heard that people had lost their businesses which had taken a lifetime to build, and mental and physical health was deteriorating after a year of isolation. Mr. Hillier believed that as their elected representative he had a duty to voice their concerns publicly.

In response to the lockdown measures and the latest Stay-at-Home Order, Mr. Hillier attended a peaceful protest at South Bank Bistro in Brockville, Ontario on April 8, 2021. Mr. Hillier attended another protest in Cornwall, Ontario on May 1, 2021. He spoke to a group of protestors about the importance of Canadians’ fundamental freedoms as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

For exercising his right to peaceful protest, Mr. Hillier was charged under the Reopening Ontario Act for failing to comply with the Order, and faces a possible fine of up to $100,000 and up to one year in jail.

At the same time that Mr. Hillier was charged for exercising his right to peaceful protest, a Montreal film production company had dozens of people working in close proximity to each other to shoot scenes for a Netflix movie in downtown Cornwall.

One of three expert witnesses testifying in this case is Dr. Kevin Bardosh, a professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington with extensive medical credentials, who has provided the court with a comprehensive expert report about lockdown harms. Based on a large volume of evidence, the report concludes that the government’s Covid-19 restrictions “cause excessive and needless harm to the mental health, physical health and well being of Canadians” which will have “long-term, negative consequents on the future of Canadians society.”

Lawyers for Mr. Hillier will be presenting evidence that the ban on peaceful protests was not necessary for the government to achieve its public health goals. They will also present evidence that there were significant social, economic, and health costs to the lockdowns, and the ban was not demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

“Ontario’s Stay-at-Home Orders essentially confined people to house arrest for months on end, only allowing them to leave for approved purposes,” said lawyer Marty Moore. “While getting pet food was an approved purpose, the Ontario government did not permit people to engage in peaceful outdoor protests, completely disregarding the freedom of peaceful assembly guaranteed by our Charter. The evidence in this case shows that there was no scientific or medical justification for this ban on outdoor protest, and rather that the government’s lockdown measures have created significant and enduring harm to Canadians.”

Related Documents:

Factum for the Applicant – Randy Hillier
Affidavit of Dr. J. Kettner 
Affidavit of Dr. T. Warren
Dr. Kevin Bardosh Expert Report
Factum of the Respondent – Province of Ontario
Affidavit of Dr. Kettner – September 2022

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