Legal Cases

26 May 2021 Supreme Court Affirms the Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Church over Doctrinal and Membership Questions

On Friday, May 21, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada released their decision in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church et al. v. Aga et al. The unanimous decision is a resounding victory for the authority and autonomy of the church over questions of doctrine and membership. Thank the Lord for this positive development! This case was appealed to the Supreme Court after the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the civil courts could adjudicate a dispute between several former members* and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church regarding their membership status and...

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09 Mar 2021 Recap of the Beaudoin v. B.C. Court Hearings on B.C.’s Prohibition of Corporate Worship

Last week, the BC Supreme Court spent four days (March 1-3, 5) hearing the case of Beaudoin v. BC, where three BC churches are challenging the Provincial Health Order prohibiting in-person worship services. The case was heard by Chief Justice Hinkson, the Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court, and now we await his decision. The Chief Justice had rejected an injunction request from the government in mid-February when the province tried to force the closure of churches that continued to hold in-person worship services contrary to the public health orders. The...

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14 Dec 2020 Supreme Court of Canada heard another important church government case on Wednesday

On Wednesday, December 9th, ARPA Canada participated in the Supreme Court of Canada hearing in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church et al. v. Aga et al.  The video recording of the hearing is available here (see ARPA at 56:30) and you can read ARPA’s written submissions here. This case was appealed to the Supreme Court after the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the civil courts could adjudicate a dispute between several former members* and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) regarding their membership status and other matters. The controversy that gave...

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14 Feb 2020 A breach in Wall:  New court ruling casts shadow on church independence

by John Sikkema In 2018, we told you about a Supreme Court case called Wall v Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In that case, Mr. Wall took a Jehovah’s Witnesses Congregation to court for “disfellowshipping” him. Mr. Wall succeeded in the lower courts, but lost his case at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC). The SCC decided unanimously that civil judges have no business reviewing a religious body’s decision to expel a member where no legal right is at stake. That case raised the fundamental issue of churches’ freedom to govern themselves,...

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14 Jan 2020 ARPA Press release: A.B. v. C.D. Father did not commit family violence

OTTAWA, ON – The British Columbia Court of Appeal released its judgment today in A.B. v. C.D., in which it overturned numerous orders made by the court below, concluding that the father (“C.D.”) had not committed “family violence” under the Family Law Act by opposing his biological daughter’s (“A.B.”) proposed gender transition by the administration of testosterone. The Court of Appeal struck the lower court’s protection order, which threatened the father with immediate arrest if he tried to persuade AB to abandon testosterone treatment, if he addressed AB by her birth name, or if...

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11 Sep 2019 B.C.’s highest court says 14-year-old can continue hormone treatment, despite gaps in risk disclosure  

by John Sikkema  The B.C. Gender Clinic’s “Informed Consent Form” for “hormone therapy” is both inadequate and misleading, in my view. Yet the province’s highest court ruled last week, in AB v CD, that a 14-year-old girl who had signed the form could continue to receive testosterone therapy despite her father’s objections. In this article, I explain that decision and what it may mean for B.C. children and families. What is the AB v CD case about? ARPA was in court last week as an intervenor in AB v CD (anonymized short forms for...

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10 Sep 2019 ARPA Gives Oral Arguments in Critical Court Case

This week ARPA Canada was one of just two intervenors that was permitted to give oral arguments in a crucial and sad case in the BC Court of Appeal. We have produced a special Vlog about the case. However, due to a publication ban, we can’t share many details of what transpired in the court room. The case centres around a BC father who has been told he may not express his concerns about his 14-year-old daughter’s decision to take hormone treatments to appear as a boy. The case centres around a...

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22 Aug 2019 ARPA Approved to Intervene in B.C. Transgender Child Court Case

Earlier this year, a British Columbia judge decided that a 14-year-old girl could receive “hormone treatments” for gender dysphoria despite her father’s strong disapproval. That judge also warned the father against “attempting to persuade A.B. [anonymized initials for his daughter] to abandon treatment for gender dysphoria; addressing A.B. by his birth name; referring to A.B. as a girl or with female pronouns whether to him directly or to third parties.” A subsequent court order authorized police to arrest the father without warrant and charge him with contempt of court if he...

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20 Jun 2019 Gender, politics, and censorship at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Morgane Oger, Vice-President of B.C. NDP and 2017 provincial candidate in Vancouver by John Sikkema There’s a recent Human Rights Tribunal decision in B.C. you should know about. It’s about gender, religion, politics, and censorship. It’s noteworthy for how the Tribunal’s religious worldview is displayed and enforced. The decision is Whatcott v. Oger. You may have heard of Bill Whatcott and his style of public engagement, which, to put it lightly, needs improvement. But for now, let’s focus on the substance of the case – what Whatcott wrote and what the Tribunal decided. The...

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06 Mar 2019 Setting up children for trans tragedies

Court orders father to support daughter’s gender transition by John Sikkema [NOTE (June 15): I learned that the B.C. Court, after this article was posted, ordered that the names of the doctors (one is a psychologist) in this case be anonymized in the judgment and not published by third parties. Therefore, I have redacted their names while the order remains in effect.] Last week, as you may have heard, a B.C. judge ruled that physicians could begin injecting a 14-year-old girl with testosterone without parental consent. The ruling demonstrates how changes in family...

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