Police warns those not following Ontario's COVID-19 rules could be fined
Ontario Provincial Police pulled over a trucker who was watching TV while driving Tuesday. (File photo)
TORONTO -- Police say they will be cracking down on people and businesses in Ontario found to be breaking new rules that limit certain services and gatherings of 50 people or more amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario has declared a state of emergency and had implemented various measures, including restricting travel, prescribing physical distancing and asking certain businesses to close in order to curb the spread of the virus.
Police said that while most people have complied with the recent rules, there are those who are choosing to ignore them.
“Although voluntary compliance is always preferred, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, there are consequences for individuals and businesses that choose to defy the Act while it is in force,” the Ontario Provincial Police said Saturday.
The OPP news release specifically referred to “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.”
Individuals could be fined up to $1,000, while corporations could face fines of $500,000, police said.
“The OPP continues to… support the efforts of federal, provincial and local health authorities during the current situation involving COVID-19,” police said.
Public gatherings with more than 50 people are prohibited, including parades, events and communal services in places of worship due to COVID-19.
Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said that only have the ability to enforce people and businesses to comply with provincial emergency orders.
He said if residents have a complaint they can contact 311, and added that the city will investigate the matter and report it to police if needed.
He said that an individual found to be violating the emergency orders in Toronto could be subject of a fine of up to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.
He added that a director or officer of a corporation found guilty could be subject to a fine of up to $500,000 and imprisonment of up to one year, while a corporation found guilty could be subject to a fine of up to $10 million.
"A person can be found guilty of a separate offence on each day that an offence occurs," Pegg told reporters Saturday.
“We need people and businesses to comply with not only the orders, but with the advice being provided by public health. Enforcement action will be taken when necessary and required."
The Toronto Public Health urged this week that all non-essential businesses in the city close to help prevent further spread of the virus