In this interview, I bring you one of the talented lawyers who we have hired through our civil liberties initiative, Fight The Fines.
Amanda Armstrong is a lawyer at the boutique law firm Nirmala Armstrong Law. In the wake of unprecedented hits on democracy and due process, her firm has shifted its focus almost entirely to COVID-19 related fines, health order infractions and human rights infringements.
Originally, I wanted to catch up with Alexandra Stewart of Stewart’s Decorating, who is an iWillOpen.com case turned FightTheFines.com case. Alexandra’s story was covered in depth by local media when the medical officer of health in North Bay issued her a restraining order for the criminal act of wanting to earn an honest, independent living.
After I spoke with her lawyers, of whom Amanda is one, we decided it would be beneficial to have a broader discussion surrounding public health orders and the Reopening Ontario legislation.
We discuss how continual changes to the Reopening Ontario Act are cause for confusion for everyone from business owners to law enforcement and legal teams. Lawyers have to be ready to change direction on a whim when regulations are amended, which is costly and cumbersome.
Amanda emphasized the troubling nature of ambiguously worded legislation that is open to the interpretation of the enforcer.
Current legislation allows unelected health overlords to compound and escalate offences without due process or timely procedure for the alleged offender to plead their case. This brings into question the constitutionality of the legislation. In trying to seek clarification and answers through definition requests, Amanda has seen public health drag their feet, which delays access to justice.
In summary, the Reopening Ontario Act seems to be creating a legal fiasco with too much fluidity and very little clarity.