Calgary pastor Tim Stephens was arrested Sunday after months of allegedly refusing to limit gathering sizes or have congregants wear masks while inside.
Stephens is the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church and has already been fined several times for skirting COVID-19 restrictions.
On Sunday the Calgary Police Service (CPS) attended the church and arrested Stephens in the afternoon for organizing a service "that did not comply with public health orders, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits," according to a release.
Last week the CPS served Stephens with a pre-emptive injunction. The Court of Queen's Bench Order obtained by Alberta Health Services targets organizers of gatherings in breach of health rules, the Calgary Herald reports.
"The Pastor acknowledged the injunction, but chose to move forward with today’s service, ignoring requirements for social distancing, mask wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees," the CPS release says.
Calgary police say they have "received repeated calls from concerned citizens regarding church services held at Fairview Baptist Church over the past several weeks."
Stephens is represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. As of early Monday morning, they have not made any statements regarding the pastor's arrest.
The CPS says "Once again, CPS acknowledges it is important to understand that law enforcement recognizes people's desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest. However, as we are still in a global pandemic, we all must comply with public health orders in order to ensure everyone's safety and wellbeing."