April 6, 2022
Federal quarantine inspectors could gain police powers to ticket rulebreakers, the Public Health Agency said of a proposal under “initial discussion” on Tuesday. Managers complained they had to rely on local police to issue tickets for those breaching the Quarantine Act.
“The agency could not issue contravention tickets across the country,” Jennifer Lutfallah, vice president of health security, testified at the House of Commons public accounts committee. “We are looking at mechanisms on how we can enhance our capability of enforcement which by that I mean ticketing or some other type of monetary mechanisms to ensure compliance.”
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Lutfallah said those mechanisms are still in the “initial discussion phases,” and that the agency is “assessing all possible options with respect to enforcement.”
After the federal government invoked the Quarantine Act on March 26, 2020, the Department of Justice assigned enforcement to the RCMP and local police under the Contraventions Act.
Fines ranged from $100 for children in breach of a quarantine order to $275 for travellers suspected of providing false or misleading statements, $500 for “failure to comply with a reasonable measure,” $750 for breach of an order, and $1,000 for illegally entering the country.
In the report Enforcement Of Quarantine And Covid-19 Testing Orders released last December 9, auditors said enforcement was uneven, as several provinces declined to enforce the Contraventions Act. “We found an uneven issuance of tickets for non-compliance,” the report said.
Rulebreakers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Québec and Atlantic Canada paid no fines at all. “There was an inconsistency and in the public’s eye an unfairness and even worries about the border measures not being strong or effective enough,” said Liberal MP Jean Yip (Scarborough-Agincourt, Ont.).