DAN CEARNS, The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit's (HKPR) enforcement branch issued several warnings, tickets and closure orders in 2022.
At a health unit board meeting, on Thursday, February 16th, Richard Ovcharovich, the health unit's Manager of Environmental Health, provided an update on the work of their public health inspectors and tobacco control officers. These officials work under the Provincial Offences Act to protect the community's health.
"We issued 10 closure orders from the environmental health team. Three of them were for food premises which were not compliant, and seven were recreational facilities with pools, hot tubs, [and] that kind of thing. We also issued five tickets. Four were for food safety violations, and one was for an individual who refused to have their dog vaccinated against Rabies," Mr. Ovcharovich stated.
But the health unit has seen an increase in offences in regards to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, with 683 warnings, 71 tickets and six court summonses being issued.
"Non-compliance has spiked significantly," the Environmental Health manager explained.
Mr. Ovcharovich told members, the health unit takes an education-first approach to enforcement.
"We enforce as a last resort, and when we do enforce, we follow progressive enforcement."
Kawartha Lakes deputy mayor, Tracy Richardson questioned if the health unit is considering having their officers wear body cameras.
"We've seen a huge spike in non-compliance and aggression, so we're moving towards having body cameras for our bylaw officers," Deputy Mayor Richardson said.
Mr. Ovcharovich said, while the health unit has seen "some aggression," HKPR has had "relatively good" experiences with their partner agencies.
"A lot of times, it's how you approach a situation, and most people [are understanding]," he added.