Edmonton

GraceLife Church facing charges under Public Health Act

GraceLife Church, west of Edmonton, has been charged "as an entity" under the Public Health Act for exceeding allowable capacity at Sunday services in February, Parkland RCMP said Wednesday.

Allowable capacity exceeded at two Sunday services in February, RCMP say

GraceLife Church in Parkland County, west of Edmonton, was charged last week "as an entity" for exceeding allowable capacity at Sunday services in February. (Andreane Williams/Radio-Canada)

GraceLife Church in Parkland County has been charged "as an entity" for exceeding allowable capacity at Sunday services in February, Parkland RCMP said Wednesday.

The church was charged for exceeding the 15 per cent allowable capacity for services on Feb. 21 and Feb. 28, contrary to Section 73(1) of the Public Health Act, RCMP said in a news release.

Legal counsel for the church was served March 4 with a summons to attend Stony Plain provincial court on May 5, police said.

The church was again over its allowable capacity at a service March 7, RCMP said.

RCMP were in attendance to help Alberta Health Services with its investigation into the church and its activities. Officers did not go inside the building, police said.

RCMP said they would offer no further comment on the charges announced Wednesday and said the investigation is continuing.

GraceLife Church has been holding services that officials say break COVID-19 public health orders on attendance, masking and distancing.

Last week, a judge ruled that GraceLife pastor James Coates will remain in jail until his trial this spring because religious beliefs are not above public health orders.

Coates was charged last month with two counts of violating Alberta's Public Health Act. He was also charged under the Criminal Code after refusing to agree to bail conditions.

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