By Victoria Gray
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are not to ask for proof of essential work and can not pull drivers over to ask where they are going and why.
The OPP issues a press release on Friday in response to speculation that constables have been pulling drivers over to enforce the Stay-at-Home Order and demand letters of employment.
The OPP is requesting that Ontarians follow the Stay-at-Home Order voluntarily and to limit leaving home, except for essential reasons, to limit the spread of the COVID-19.
The release said “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 can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an Act.”
OPP officers have the right to enforce the Stay-at-Home Order, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA), and the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA). They will do this by focusing on businesses and restaurants who may not be in compliance with the order or health and safety guidelines set out by public health units.
The OPP will also rely on complaints from the public and outdoor gatherings of more than five people they may see. Officers can disperse groups indoors and outdoors and can ticket people who are not following the protocols or Stay-At-Home Order.
Fines are $750 for not following the order and/or $1,000 for preventing others, including individuals, employees or other workers, from following an order.
The maximum fines for individuals are up to $100,000 and $10 million for corporations. Failure to follow the rules set out by the province can result in prosecution or jail time.
Officers will only stop vehicles or visit homes in regard to COVID-19 or the Stay-At-Home Order if there are complaints from the public or there are other grounds to do so.
The OPP asks that 9-1-1 be used for emergencies only.
For more information about the Stay-At-Home order visit covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions. For more information on COVID-19 support services, visit https://www.211oncovid19.ca/ or call the hotline at 211 for assistance. 211 is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and service is available in 150 languages.
In an emergency call 9-1-1.