Niagara Police aware of anti-vaccine protests at children's clinics
Niagara Regional Police are aware of protests being staged at COVID vaccine clinics in the region, including those for children aged 5-11.
Constable Phil Gavin says small gatherings have occurred at vaccination sites, and police officers have reminded protestors to remain on public property for the purpose of their efforts.
If protestors walk onto private property, they may be directed to leave, and they must do so.
"The Trespass to Property Act allows for an owner or agent to direct a person to leave their property. If the person fails to do so or refuses they can be subject to fine and or arrest."
Gavin says the role of the police is to ensure continued public safety and to preserve the peace during protests.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows for the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech.
St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens says her office received a number of calls from parents saying they were harassed last week when taking their kids to in for vaccine appointments
Stevens says she got a call from one parent that had to leave the clinic, "They were intimidating to the children as well as the parents. She had to take her 7 year old back into the car and the people were causing immense anxiety onto the child" She adds, "I think we all can agree, whatever you opinion on vaccine might be, harassment and scaring children is totally not acceptable."
Stevens is calling on the government to move ahead on proposed legislation that would create safety zones around certain public health spaces, such as vaccine clinics.
The 5-to-11 age group has been eligible for their first dose of vaccine for a little over a week.
To date 14.3% percent of the age group in Niagara have received that first shot.