- Coronavirus: Inform & Prepare Your Organization
- COVID-19: T3010 Filing Extension & CCCC Resources
- Essential Workplaces in Ontario: What about Churches and Charities?
- COVID-19: Government Support for Charities
- COVID-19: CCCC Advocates for Churches
- COVID-19: CCCC Advocates for Churches – UPDATE
- COVID-19: Ontario Limits Gatherings to FIVE people
- COVID-19: Manitoba Limits Public Gatherings to TEN people
- COVID-19: Ontario PGT Allows Charities to Access Restricted Funds
- COVID-19: Provincial and Territorial Reference Chart
- COVID-19: Options for Corporate AGMs in Ontario
- COVID-19: Corporations Canada Extends Return Deadlines
- COVID-19: Churches, Gathering Limits & Virtual Worship
- COVID-19: Canada Summer Jobs 2020 Expansion
- COVID-19: Alberta Suspends In-Person Meetings under Societies Act
- COVID-19: Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Q&A
- COVID-19: CRA Charities Directorate Resumes Call Centre Operations
- COVID-19: CCCC Calls for a Matching Funds Program to Support Charities
- COVID-19: Flexibility for Corporate AGMs in BC, Nova Scotia, Ontario
- COVID-19: Accessing Restricted Funds – Clarifications from the Ontario Public Guardian & Trustee
- COVID-19: Re-Opening Plans Across Canada
- COVID-19: A Call to Include Religious Organizations in Re-Opening Plan
- COVID-19: Options for Federal Corporate AGMs
- COVID-19: Privacy Commissioner’s Videoconferencing Tips
- COVID-19: National Survey – Finding the Way Forward Together
- COVID-19: Ontario Allows Drive-in Worship Services
- COVID-19: Private Schools Now Eligible for CEWS
- COVID-19: Canada Emergency Community Support Fund Applications Open!
- COVID-19: Virtual AGMs in Saskatchewan & Manitoba
- COVID-19: CEWS Consultation
- Church Doors Are Opening!
- Ontario Churches & Re-Opening Guidance
- AGM Deadline Extended for Federal Charities
- Charter Rights 101
- AGMs for Federally Incorporated Charities Back to Normal… Sort of
- Alberta Back to Step 1 + Restrictions
- From Shutdown to Shut-In: Ontario Issues Stay-At-Home Order
- AGM Options Across Canada: 2021 Edition
- Provinces Release 2021 Reopening Plans
- Ontario Allows Worship Services to Resume
- Alberta Set to Lift All Restrictions July 1
- BC Eliminates Restrictions on Religious Gatherings
- CRA Hosting Q&A on Canada Recovery Hiring Program
- Saskatchewan Removes All Public Health Orders, Ontario Revises
- Ontario’s New Emergency Order
As of today, April 9, Alberta has added more “Stop the spike” restrictions after it reverted back to Step 1 earlier this week. These restrictions will remain in place “until further notice.” The main change effective at noon today impacts restaurants.
What changes are there for churches?
Churches can still meet at 15% of fire code capacity.
There is a lengthy guidance document for places of worship that outlines recommendations for everything from shoe removal, to prohibiting embracing ceremonial objects, to lining garbage receptacles used for water cups, to having congregants bring their own communion items.
In-home faith group meetings are prohibited, as are all indoor social gatherings.
There is an exception for faith leaders visiting a person at the end of their life (4-6 weeks, as determined by a primary health care provider), so long as no more than three visitors are there at the same time (see Part 2, section 4(k) of the CMOH Order).
What about good works, weddings and funerals?
Social services can remain open for in-person services. That includes shelters and soup kitchens (faith-based or otherwise).
Like the exception for in-home visits from faith leaders, there are similar exemptions for educational instruction (d), to provide counselling services (j), to deliver items (f), provide social services (h) and others.
Weddings are limited to 10 people, which includes the officiant, bride and groom and witnesses. Funerals are allowed with up to 20 people, but this does not include funeral service or facility staff, funeral clergy and event organizers who are not considered invited guests. The rules apply to any facility, whether indoors or outdoors, whether seated or standing.
Wedding and funeral receptions are prohibited.
The 4-Step Plan
The 4-Step Path Forward indicates that Step 1 applies where there are less than 600 hospitalizations and declining cases, Step 2 where there are less than 450 hospitalizations and declining cases, Step 3 at less than 300 and declining cases, and Step 4 at less than 150 and declining cases, with a minimum three weeks between each stage. According to the Alberta stats page, as at April 9, there are currently 340 hospitalizations in the province, 83 of which are ICU admissions, and the average age of COVID-19 related deaths is 81.
The recent return to Step 1 has created a divide within the United Conservative Party. Seventeen MLAs have signed a public statement expressing concerns about the decision to impose further restrictions. The letter supports the government’s previously announced path forward to reopening, which took the health threat seriously and provided a transparent, step-by-step plan. But the MLAs see the move back to Step 1 as “effectively abandoning the plan that Albertans had worked diligently over the past months to follow.”
This controversy highlights what seems to be a growing sense of frustration, not just in Alberta, but across the country (see John Pellowe’s blog post Challenging Authorities: Using Reason to Persuade for an example of one BC church’s plea).
Whether you’re feeling perfectly content or feeling discouraged, all of our members are invited to join discussions in The Green where we can learn from and be encouraged by one another!
Noteworthy is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.