Release Date: April 2nd, 2020 - 8:08am
Originator: Superintendent, Anthony Odoardi, 3 District, 905-825-4777 ext. 2300
Contact: Sergeant, Mark Pidberezny, 3 District, 905-825-4777 ext. 2300
On March 17, 2020, the Province of Ontario declared a provincial emergency through the authority granted under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA). Since this declaration, several emergency orders have been made under the Act to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure that essential services continue to be provided and Ontarians are supported.
A ministerial designation under the Provincial Offences Act temporarily allows for by-law enforcement officers to assist police officers with enforcing the emergency orders being made by the province.
In this regard, Halton Regional Police Service officers, by-law enforcement officers with the Town of Oakville, City of Burlington, Town of Halton Hills and Town of Milton, and Conservation Halton officers are now collaborating to respond to calls for service related to non-compliance with emergency orders within our collective boundaries.
For the duration of the pandemic, if a member of the public wishes to report an incident of non-compliance with the emergency orders, they may contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline:
It is critical that our residents use 911 for emergencies only.
A call taker will collect relevant information from the complainant, and when appropriate, a by-law enforcement officer or police officer will be dispatched to follow up. Upon responding to an alleged incident of non-compliance, the severity of each infraction in relation to the potential risk to public health and the spread of COVID-19 will be taken into account to guide a response. If compliance is not obtained through dialogue and education, officers have the authority to issue a ticket or summons.
The enforceable orders that fall within the authority of the Halton Regional Police Service, the municipal by-law officers and Conservation Halton officers include:
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.
Please note that at this time, the Halton Regional Police Service only has the authority to enforce the Federal Quarantine Orders under the Quarantine Act when directed by a quarantine officer or health officer. Residents may still contact the COVID-19 Hotline to request follow-up for quarantine concerns.
Further, at this time, there is no legislative authority for Halton Regional Police Service officers to enforce non-compliance with physical distancing recommendations. Residents may still contact the COVID-19 Hotline to request follow-up for physical distancing concerns.
"These are unprecedented times. It is incumbent on every member of our community to do their part now to slow the spread of COVID-19. The emergency orders that have been put in place by the provincial government are there for our collective protection. Our expectation is that residents will step up, comply with these measures, and contribute meaningfully to flatten the curve," said Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner.
"We are fighting an invisible threat to our health and our way of life—we all need to work together and take action now," said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. "I can't stress enough how important it is that everyone take direction from Public Health seriously. Thank you to all those who are taking action to help flatten the curve and for those who haven't, you need to start now. We are all in this together."
"At the Town of Oakville, the health and safety of our residents is always a priority, but now, more than ever, is the time we need to work together to protect our community. We must understand how serious COVID-19 is and do everything we can to prevent its spread. I ask all residents to adhere to the emergency orders by our provincial government and maintain physical distancing at all times and stay home. The life you save could be yours, or someone you love and need," said Mayor of Oakville and Chair of Halton Police Board Rob Burton.
"We thank the province for giving our regional police and local municipal by-law enforcement officers the tools to ensure the orders for closures and gatherings are followed. The more we stay apart now, the sooner we can come together. Let's all do our part voluntarily to keep each other safe and healthy, to limit the need for enforcement," says Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington.
"These are unusual times that require extraordinary actions. I encourage everyone to practice physical distancing and respect the closure of the Town's facilities, including playgrounds, skate parks, courts, sports fields and park amenities," said Mayor Rick Bonnette, Town of Halton Hills. "I am pleased that by-law enforcement officers and police now have the authority to enforce non-compliance with the COVID-19 measures put in place to protect public safety. Be safe and look after each other."
"It's important for our communities to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19," said Mayor Gord Krantz, Town of Milton. "The provincial government has put emergency orders in effect to keep people safe. My hope is that residents in Milton and neighbouring municipalities comply with these efforts to flatten the curve."