Ontario has announced strict measures as people continue to flock to parks even after the government declared a state of emergency to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19.
Under the emergency order, Ontario has limited gatherings to 5 people, closed all non-essential services, outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Retail businesses and individuals in Ontario are also prevented from charging unfair prices for necessary goods.
Failing to comply with any of these emergency orders is an offence under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. These will attract punishments of up to one-year imprisonment or a fine of up to $100,000 for an individual, $500,000 for a director of a corporation, or $10,000,000 for a corporation itself if a provincial offences officer charges the individual by issuing a summons.
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In addition, people who are being charged with an offence under the EMCPA will be required to identify themselves if asked by a provincial offences officer, which includes police officers, First Nations constables, special constables, and municipal by-law enforcement officers. The offender will have to disclose their correct name, date of birth and address to the officer. This temporary power was approved by the Ontario government today through an emergency order to better protect people during this COVID-19 outbreak.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said, “It is essential that measures are in place to allow provincial offences officers to lawfully require an individual to disclose their correct name, date of birth and address in order to protect our communities. By providing provincial offences officers with this temporary power to obtain identifying information under the EMCPA, they will be able to enforce emergency orders during these extraordinary times.”
In addition, failing to correctly identify oneself carries a fine of $750 for failure to comply with an order made under the EMCPA or $1,000 for obstructing any person in exercising a power if a provincial offences officer issues a ticket. These penalties apply in addition to the penalties for breaching other emergency orders.