Edmonton & Area News

RCMP charge pastor with violating COVID rules

PARKLAND COUNTY – Earlier today, the RCMP charges James Coates, the Pastor of the Grace Life Church, in contravention of Section 73(1) of the Public Health Act, for being over capacity and failing to adhere to physical distancing requirements.  Coates has been served an Undertaking with conditions and is to attend in Provincial Court in Stony Plain on March 31, 2021.

The RCMP can confirm that in December a violation ticket was issued to the Pastor, and on Feb. 7 the Pastor was arrested and released with a court appearance date.

Since early December the RCMP have been working with AHS in an ongoing investigation into the activities surrounding the non compliance of the church. AHS has maintained a position of being the lead investigating agency. On Feb. 7, the RCMP, along with the Public Health Inspector with AHS, attended the church and determined that the facility was over double the current restricted capacity level. As a matter of respect, the church proceedings were not interrupted by the RCMP, and Coates was cooperative with the RCMP following the end of the service.

“There are many different discussions and considerations at play in relation to the Grace Life Church and their non compliance” says Inspector Mike Lokken, Detachment Commander of Parkland RCMP.  “We have ensured that the church is well aware of the conditions that they need to follow and they have been afforded repeated opportunities to comply. In collaboration with AHS, we have now followed up with escalated enforcement.”