Story by: Kayla Kreutzberg
Photo courtesy of: OPP
The Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are hoping the public follows Ontario’s stay-at-home order to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
So, what exactly will they be doing to enforce the order?
Kirk MacDonald, Wellington County OPP provincial constable said they will be dealing with complaints from the public, they won’t be doing random stops of people on the road, or going to people’s houses without probable cause.
“We’re going to continue to work and support our by-law officers, as well as, local health units, and that may be to disperse or fine unlawful gatherings, and or shutdown businesses contradicting an order,” MacDonald said.
Const. MacDonald said there is no element of any order that provides law enforcement with even the power to enter dwellings, nor the authority to stop a vehicle for the singular purpose of checking compliance with the stay-at-home order.
Wellington County OPP officers can issue fines to people found to be in non-compliance with the stay-at-home order, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA), and the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA).
There are a variety of fines and they begin at $750.
MacDonald said if anybody obstructs an officer, or a person that’s exercising a power in accordance with the order they can receive a fine of $1,000.
“Individuals who organize gatherings at a residential premise that exceed the capacity requirements, and any other restrictions will face a minimum fine of $10,000, and a maximum for non-compliance at $100,000, and possibly a term of imprisonment of no more than one year,” MacDonald said.
He said that any individual that attends these unlawful gatherings could receive a fine of $750 for failing to comply with an order.
MacDonald said police have the authority to issue a ticket to a customer or staff member not wearing a face mask or a face covering in a retail setting or business.
“So, the face covering or mask must cover the individual’s mouth, nose, and chin, and the offence for that would be failing to comply with the order, which is a $750 fine,” MacDonald said.
He added that when it comes to the larger businesses, such as big box stores, they won’t be doing any proactive enforcement to see if they are complying with the guidelines, that enforcement will be likely conducted by the Ministry of Labour.