Without Papers Pizza vindicated as City drops all charges

The owner of the pizzeria no longer faces the prospect of substantial fines.

CALGARY: The City of Calgary has dropped all charges against Without Papers Pizza following a constitutional challenge brought by The Democracy Fund (TDF) funded lawyers Martin Rejman and Chad Williamson.

The once-popular pizzeria was charged in October 2021 with breaching multiple bylaws after its business license was suspended for not complying with public health orders and after undercover inspectors were permitted to purchase pizza and remain in the restaurant without providing proof of vaccination.  Among other things, the allegations against the pizzeria were that it permitted persons to enter and remain on the premises without proof of vaccination and that it did not display prescribed signage, all of which was contrary to bylaws passed by the City of Calgary.

Lawyers for the pizzeria argued in their constitutional application that the bylaws in question were implementing public health orders that were found to be invalid by judges of the Court of King’s Bench. More specifically, the impugned health orders were held to be ultra vires the Public Health Act as they were made by the provincial cabinet as opposed to the Chief Medical Officer of Health, which is what the law required.

The legal victory is no doubt bittersweet for Without Papers Pizza and its owner, Jesse Clay Johson, as the pizzeria was forced into insolvency because of the implementation of provincial health orders.

The constitutional application described Without Papers Pizza as a “landmark institution” in Calgary. Owners of the restaurant supported the community through supporting music festivals and by donating pizza to flood-ravaged communities and homeless shelters. The establishment was frequently voted as having the best pizza in Calgary.

To support TDF’s work in defending businesses like Without Papers Pizza, please consider making a tax-deductible donation on this page.

About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.

E-transfer (Canada):
[email protected] - password democracy if required

Cheques made out to The Democracy Fund:
PO Box 61035 Eglinton/Dufferin RO
Toronto, ON M6E 5B2

🚨 For E-transfer and cheque donations, please include the following legally required information:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Full address
  • If making a corporate or business contribution, the corporation or business' name