The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the provincial authority responsible for issuing liquor licences, moved to suspend JAKK Tuesday's alcohol licence because its owner refused to enforce Ontario's health orders for "non-essential" businesses. Ontario's proof of vaccination system went into effect last Wednesday.

The ACGO said before the launch of the vaccine passport program, compliance officers visited the establishment and explained to the owner what the new rules were. The owner said he would not enforce the new regulations and posted signage on-location making their intentions clear.

The regional health authority, Kingston Public Health, has since received several complaints about JAKKs, which resulted in a visit from municipal bylaw officers on September 23. They confirmed non-enforcement and charged the owner with violations of the "Reopening Ontario Act" (ROA).

The ACGO has also moved to have the pub's licence revoked entirely "for infractions of the Liquor Licence Act (LLA), including the requirement that the licence holder act and carry on business in accordance with the law, with honesty and integrity, and in the public interest."

Although he received thousands of dollars in fines, the owner said his business has growing support, and people are coming to his bar from across the province.

"The pandemic has hard hit the hospitality sector. The vaccine certificates are allowing businesses to keep operating while protecting the safety of their patrons," said Tom Mungham, Registrar and CEO, AGCO.

"Liquor licensed establishments have an important role to play in keeping the sector open and the community safe. We appreciate and recognize all the establishments that are taking this responsibility seriously and will continue addressing situations where that responsibility is being disregarded."

Across the province, hundreds of small businesses are taking a stand against the province's proof of vaccination system, condemning its violation of peoples' rights and freedoms and the beginning of a slippery slope towards more government encroachment in citizens' private lives.

A Facebook group called Ontario Businesses Against Health Pass, created on August 25, "compile[d] a list of businesses that believe a health passport in Ontario is unconstitutional."

The group urged Ontarians to "make the biggest change with where we decide to spend OUR money." At the time of writing, there are nearly 140,000 members.

The Ontario government said it would deal with defiant businesses by taking an education-first approach, allowing owners to change their policies before receiving a punitive fine. Penalties for obstructing provincial health orders range from $1,000 to $10 million.