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Alberta gives ‘full authority’ to law enforcement agencies on COVID-19 fines

Thursday, March 26, 2020 @ 1:28 PM | By Ian Burns

To protect the health and safety of Albertans, law enforcement agencies in the province have been granted full authority to enforce public health orders and issue fines.

“We must do everything we can to protect Albertans through this pandemic,” said Premier Jason Kenney. “While the vast majority of Albertans are doing their part to flatten the curve by self-isolating, practising physical distancing or helping those who are self-isolating, some are not. Self-isolation orders are not suggestions or guidelines — they are now the law and they must be followed. Anyone putting their families, their neighbours, or other Albertans at risk will face consequences.”

Through amendments to the procedures regulation under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, community peace officers, in addition to police, will be able to issue tickets to enforce COVID-19 public health orders. Fines now administered through tickets for violating an order have increased from up to $100 per day to a prescribed fine of $1,000 per occurrence. Courts will also have increased powers to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.

“The chief medical officer of health has the full co-operation of community peace officers and local policing to ensure Albertans comply with orders,” said Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer. “Albertans’ health is and will always be our top priority, and we will use all necessary enforcement measures to ensure Albertans take this situation seriously by self-isolating and limiting mass gatherings.”

Public health orders subject to fines for violation include:
  • Any individual who has travelled outside of Canada must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from their return, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
  • Any individual who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the start of their symptoms, or until the symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. Symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or a sore throat.
  • Any individual who has been identified by as a close contact of a person(s) with COVID-19 must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of last having been exposed to COVID-19, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
  • Mass gatherings must be limited to no more than 50 attendees.
  • Access to public recreational facilities, private entertainment facilities, bars and nightclubs is prohibited.
  • Visitation to long-term care and other continuing care facilities is limited to essential visitors only.

The government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services (AHS) are working with local enforcement agencies to manage complaints, which can be submitted online. Industry exemptions to travel restrictions will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis by public health officials. Exemptions will be posted here.