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Members of Ontario church cannot sue over expulsion from congregation: Supreme Court

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says former members of an Ontario church cannot go to court over their expulsion from the congregation.

Five members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Canada St. Mary Cathedral were expelled after expressing dissatisfaction with a lack of action against an allegedly heretical movement in the church.

They say this was a breach of the rules governing the congregation, prompting them to file a claim in court.

They argued the church failed to follow its own internal procedures and that the expulsion violated their right to natural justice.

The church said the members had no right to procedural fairness and the decision to expel them was not subject to review in court.

A judge agreed the claim should be tossed out but the decision was overturned on appeal, prompting the church to take its case to the Supreme Court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press