Alberta’s hospitals are now included in the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act.
The act was established in 2020 to protect railways, highways, pipelines and other infrastructure carrying punishment for trespassing, interference with operations and damage, which could result in significant public safety, social, economic and environmental consequences.
This is in response to recent anti-vaccination protests outside hospitals in Alberta.
“Recent protests at hospitals have revealed the need to keep health-care workers safe and to make sure Albertans can receive critical care when they need it,” Jason Kenney, Premier.
“All Canadians have the right to peaceful protest, but blocking ambulances and preventing people from getting treatment is definitely not peaceful. Law enforcement is now fully empowered to make sure hospitals and health facilities are safe.”
The Critical Infrastructure Defence Act does not ban protests or demonstrations and still allows citizens to exercise their constitutionally protected rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
“It is dangerous for anyone or group to hamper the ability of Albertans to access health care when they need it,” Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
“This is another tool for law enforcement to ensure our hard-working health-care professionals can do the work we are so grateful for.”
For those who choose to interfere with the hospital’s ability to operate while protesting, penalties include: for individuals, a minimum fine of $1,000 and up to $10,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for subsequent offences and or a temporary of imprisonment for up to six months, for corporations, a minimum $10,000 and up to $200,000 fine.