Thunder Bay – NEWS – The Ontario Provincial Police have updated their earlier standing on Emergency Powers and their enforcement efforts following changes made Saturday by the Ford Government.
In a statement issued on Sunday evening, “The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is requesting that Ontarians voluntarily comply with the new emergency orders as it does its part to support the Government of Ontario’s health emergency declaration to limit transmission of the COVID-19 virus.”
The OPP came under public criticism over their initial and speedy response to greater enforcement of the Emergency Orders put out on Friday by the Ford Government.
Now, the service says, “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 unlawful public gatherings. Officers can disperse and ticket individuals found to be non-compliant resulting in a $750 fine.”
The new emergency orders include
· Outdoor events/gatherings are now prohibited unless all parties are from the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or is a caregiver for any member of the household
· All retail stores that are permitted to be open must:
o Limit the number of persons to 25 per cent capacity of the store
· The following outdoor recreational amenities shall be closed:
o All outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields including:
· Baseball diamonds,
· Soccer fields,
· Frisbee golf locations,
· Tennis, platform tennis, table tennis, pickleball courts,
· Basketball courts,
· BMX parks, and
· Skate parks
o All portions of park and recreation areas containing outdoor fitness equipment
o All picnic sites and picnic tables in park and recreation areas
· An Outdoor recreational amenity that is an off-leash dog area or park bench may be open and used if physical distancing is maintained
· A playground, a place specifically designed to enable children to play there, may be open and used
Consistent with the new emergency orders, OPP 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 who believe an individual may be participating in a gathering that is prohibited may require the individual to provide information to determine whether or not they are in compliance.
More information about the restrictions covered by the Government of Ontario’s declared ‘State of Emergency’ and the updated enforcement provisions of the EMCPA can be found at Reopening Ontario Act (A Flexible Response to COVID-19; ROA), 2020.
For all non-emergency police matters – including allegations of COVID-19 restrictions non-compliance – contact your municipal by-law office, call the OPP non-emergency number at 1-888-310-1122, or contact your local detachment. Please reserve 911 for life-threatening emergencies.