COVID-19 Update: OPP Can Lay Fines for Not Following Social Distancing Rules

Ontario Provincial Police Crime report

THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Provincial Police have the power to fine individuals and corporations who do not comply with social distancing.

In a statement issued on Friday, March 20, 2020, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) says the service wants to ensure everyone is aware of how police services are expected to respond to the Government of Ontario’s recent health emergency declaration related to limiting transmission of COVID-19.

Although voluntary compliance is always preferred, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), there are consequences for individuals and businesses that choose to defy the Act while it is in force. Contravening the expert advice provided by the Chief Medical Officer of Health to close certain businesses and institutions and limit gatherings to 50-people or less, the Provincial Offences Act (POA) has been updated to include three offenses to be enforced by police, along with set fines per offense:

▪ Fail to comply with an order – Part I            Fine of $750

▪ Obstructions of Person                                Fine of $1,000

▪ Corporations                                                Fine of $500,000

The OPP continues to provide public safety services to the communities we serve and support the efforts of federal, provincial and local health authorities during the current situation involving COVID-19. We appreciate the public’s ongoing support of these measures.

Visit the OPP website news section for more information to help limit COVID-19 transmission.


Facilities/Services Affected by the Declaration of Emergency

As a result of the declaration of emergency, the following establishments are required to remain closed until further notice:

·      all bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout and food delivery;

·      all facilities providing indoor recreational programs;

·      all public libraries;

·      all private schools;

·      all licensed child care centres;

·      all movie cinemas and all theatres, including those offering live performances of music, dance and other art forms; and,

·      all concert venues.

Additionally, all organized public events of over 50 people are prohibited, including parades, events, and communal services within places of worship. These orders will remain in place until March 31, 2020, when the province will reassess for an extension or end the closures.

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