Nova Scotia law would create protest buffer zones around health-care facilities

·1 min read

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is proposing legislation aimed at prohibiting protests that block access to hospitals and other health-care facilities.

The Progressive Conservative government says the Protecting Access to Health Services Act will also ban protests at the homes of patients who receive care where they live.

The legislation would establish a 50-metre "safe access bubble" around hospitals and other facilities such as doctors' offices, where protests would not be permitted.

Premier Tim Houston said today in a news release that while people have a right to protest, they can't be allowed to disrupt access to health care.

Quebec has adopted a law banning COVID-19-related protests outside schools and hospitals, while Alberta recently announced it was adding hospitals, clinics and other health-care facilities to a list of essential infrastructure protected under an anti-blockade law.

The Nova Scotia bill includes a fine for individuals of $5,000 and up to six months in jail for a first offence, and a fine of up to $10,000 and up to one year in jail for people who violate the order a second time. The legislation sets fines for corporations at $25,000 for a first offence and a fine between $5,000 and $100,000 for a second or subsequent offence.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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