Ontario – Police Enforcement of the Stay at Home Order

Covid-19 Lockdown

Thunder Bay – There remains some confusion over the Ontario “Stay at Home Order” and how it will be enforced.

The basic is this, if you don’t have to go out for essential needs, don’t. Wonder what that means, Click here.

Thunder Bay Police have issued a statement. Chief Hauth says, “Please be assured that the Thunder Bay Police Service will be taking a fair and reasonable approach regarding the enforcement of the new orders. We will respond as necessary as the situation dictates. We will continue to work with Health Unit Inspectors who are currently the primary investigative authority on compliance charges.

“The Health Unit will continue to ensure that only permitted businesses are open for the specified hours, that gatherings are limited to no more than 5 individuals, wearing of masks as specified in the act, and that social distancing is occurring within businesses and organizations. We will continue to work jointly on ensuring that the orders are followed and that charges are laid when warranted.

“We all have obligations regarding the provincial orders. The members of the Thunder Bay Police Service will continue to focus on the 4 E’s:

• Engage (with the individuals)
• Explain (why we are there)
• Educate (on the rules and regulations)
• Enforce (as a last resort)”

The OPP have also issued a statement:

“The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is requesting that Ontarians voluntarily comply with the new Stay-at-Home Order to limit mobility outside their homes, except for essential reasons, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“OPP officers will enforce the Stay-at-Home Order, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA), and the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) by focusing on non-compliance in businesses and restaurants, complaints from the public and outdoor gatherings of more than five (5) people. Officers can disperse and ticket individuals found to be non-compliance with the Acts.

“Fines are $750 for failing to comply with an order and/or $1,000 for preventing others (including individuals, employees or other workers) from following an order. Maximum fines for individuals are up $100,000 and $10 million for a corporation. Failure to follow the rules can result in prosecution or jail time.

“As a reminder, in the absence of a complaint or other grounds, officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or a vehicle or enter a dwelling for the singular purpose of checking compliance with the order. Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work. Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an Act.”

The public across Ontario have been reportedly calling 911 to get information on the Stay at Home Order.

Police are finding that is causing problems as 911 operators are for emergency situations and those calls are backing up operators.

The OPP asks that 9-1-1 be used for emergency purposes only. If you have questions about the Stay-At-Home order please visit covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions.

To learn more about COVID-19 support services, you can call the hotline at 211 for assistance. 211 is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and service is available in 150 languages.

For non-emergencies – including allegations of non-compliance – contact your police service of jurisdiction. If that is the OPP, call 1-888-310-1122 (toll free in Ontario).

In an emergency, always call 9-1-1.