Ontario Man Charged for Allegedly Intimidating Health-Care Worker

Ontario Man Charged for Allegedly Intimidating Health-Care Worker
A close-up of an Ottawa Police officer’s badge in Ottawa on April 28, 2022. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Andrew Chen

An Ontario man who allegedly made intimidating phone calls to a health-care worker has been charged under a federal law created last year amid protests against the government’s COVID-19 measures.

Louis Mertzelos, a 58-year-old resident of Windsor, allegedly made several phone calls to the office of Ottawa family physician Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, according to an Oct. 13 news release from the Ottawa Police Service (OPS), which has issued a warrant for his arrest.

Mertzelos is facing four charges, including the hate-motivated offence of harassing communication, harassment by repeated communication, mischief, and intimidation of health service.

Kaplan-Myrth said she was targeted after appearing on a national television show urging people to keep wearing masks. She also told the Ottawa Citizen that the charges were laid over two calls made in early September, adding that such calls “occur all the time” and are primarily made by those she alleged to be “anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers.”
As of Oct. 14, the OPS told The Epoch Times that it has yet to locate Mertzelos. The agency declined to provide details of the victim in relation to the case.

Bill C-3

The charge laid against Mertzelos was the result of Bill C-3, which added two new offences to the Criminal Code aimed at preventing intimidation against health care workers and patients. The bill took effect on Jan. 16, 2022.
The legislation was introduced by the federal government in December 2021 after protests broke out across the country on Sept. 13, 2021, as governments started to impose mandatory COVID-19 vaccination mandates on public employees, including health-care workers and first responders.
Canadian Frontline Nurses, a medical freedom advocacy group that organized protests outside of hospitals on Sept. 1 and Sept. 13, said at the time that it was taking a stand against “tyrannical measures and government overreach.”
In response to the protests, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter that “there is no place for intimidation or threats at our hospitals and clinics,” pledging to make it an offence to obstruct access to any building providing health services“ as well as acts that ”intimidate/threaten any health care worker or anyone seeking treatment.”
Canadian Frontline Nurses later released an open letter addressed to Trudeau, saying that remarks like his generate a divisive environment that “pits family and friends against one another based on medical choices that individuals have made with careful consideration.”

“We stand with our fellow medical practitioners who also believe in media choice. Many of them have attended our events. Some of them feel voiceless, pressured, and isolated,” the group said.

The charge of intimidating a health worker was laid this January against at least two other individuals, both of whom are residents of Peterborough, Ontario. The man and woman were allegedly involved in a protest outside the home of the city’s public health officer.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.