Protesting During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Legal News

Gatherings are forbidden. However, it is still possible to protest, despite the pandemic. The right to protest is protected by charters of rights. Rules must be followed though.

Protesting: A Fundamental Right

The right to protest is protected by both the Quebec and the Canadian charters. The charters protect two fundamental rights: freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. In 2019, the Quebec Court of Appeal stated that these two freedoms create a right to protest.

You can protest in the street, on the sidewalk, in a park, or in a public space because these are places for people to gather and express themselves publicly. In fact, the Court of Appeal struck down a municipal by-law that required either organizers or participants of a protest to tell police the route or the time and place of a protest. The Court said this rule violated protected freedoms.

Rules to Follow

Protesters must wear a mask or a cloth that covers both the nose and the mouth. It must also be well adjusted. The protest organizer must take steps to remind protesters that wearing a face-covering is mandatory.

In addition, protesters must stay two metres apart from each other. It is illegal to protest during the curfew.

Police can fine anyone who does not follow these rules. The fines can range from $1,000 to $6,000.

More for legal information about COVID-19, please see our special guide.