Justice Bruce Thomas in St. Thomas Superior Court of Justice Monday morning, May 31, fined the Church of God (Restoration) Aylmer, Pastor Henry Hildebrandt, and Assistant Pastor Peter Wall a combined $66,000 for continued breach of a court order to follow gathering limits under the Reopening Ontario Act.
The hearing was in response to the church continuing to hold large services – this time outdoors – in violation of provincial pandemic restrictions. Justice Thomas had, on May 14, had already found the parties in contempt and fined them $117,000 for holding indoor services with well over the maximum of 10 people in attendance. The doors were ordered locked to prevent further indoor services.
Just two days later, on May 16, the two pastors led a service on the church lawn for hundreds of visitors. That has continued each Sunday since, including this most recent, May 30.
Justice Thomas, in his second finding of contempt on May 31, noted Pastor Hildebrandt was clear in a video of the May 16 service “that he would not be deterred” by the earlier court orders and would continue to host services.
He fined the church as a corporation $35,000, Pastor Hildebrandt $20,000, Pastor Wall $6,000, plus court costs of $5,000. Fines are payable “forthwith”.