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Stewart's Decorating owner vows to fight Health Unit action

'I remain open to the public for essential services until the process has been resolved by the judicial system of our great country'
20210427 stewart's decorating google maps
Stewart's Decorating. Courtesy Google Maps.

The owner of Stewart's Decorating, Alexandra Stewart tells BayToday that she has filed an appeal to a closure order issued by the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit.

Stewart was served with a Section 22 order on Saturday, April 17.

See: Stewart’s Decorating ordered closed by Health Unit for COVID non-compliance

"My counsel has submitted an appeal within the 15 days pursuant to the S22 order," Stewart said in an emailed statement."

This appeal is to request a hearing in front of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board which is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal. 

"I have a date for a case conference which is a preliminary step in this tribunal," explained Stewart. "What gets discussed at the case conference is without prejudice and confidential. However, it will be an opportunity for all parties to come together to discuss my appeal."

Ironically, because of COVID guidelines, all in-person matters are being converted to teleconference for the foreseeable future.

"This appeal allows me an opportunity to refute the unilateral action taken by the Chief Medical Officer in serving/issuing an S22 order against me," she added. "I remain open to the public for essential services until the process has been resolved by the judicial system of our great country.  My customers can request delivery of products and be served in this manner if they so choose."

The store, which deals in paint, flooring, window coverings, and other assorted home decors, was ordered to immediately close by the Health Unit.

Under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, a medical officer of health can issue an order to “require a person to take or to refrain from taking any action in respect of a communicable disease.”

The Section 22 Order requires Stewart’s Decorating to remain closed to the public and all patrons, including the prohibition of curbside pickup, with the exception of delivery and service by telephone or remote means.

"Between January 25, 2021 and April 16, 2021, the Health Unit took various actions in an effort to correct the non-compliance, including providing education and warnings, followed by the issuance of multiple Provincial Offence proceedings," says a Health Unit release.

Non-compliance with a Section 22 Order issued by the Health Unit may, upon conviction, result in a fine of up $5,000 per day of non-compliance for individuals, and up to $25,000.00 per day for corporations.

Stewart has already been ticketed for non-compliance back on January 26. The fine is $750, $880 with surcharges, but Stewart has not paid the fine, believing it will be thrown out of court in a constitutional challenge.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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