DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA/DURHAM: Neither the Durham Regional Police (DRPS) nor the Kawartha Lakes police (KLPS) will be doing random compliance checks for Ontario’s stay at home order.
“We will be approaching calls for service on a case-by-case basis. We will be responding with a balanced approach using education and enforcement when necessary keeping overall public safety in mind. We will not be randomly stopping individual[s] on the street asking for personal details. If, however, an officer is going to issue a ticket, an individual must identify themselves either verbally or with documentation,” read a statement from KLPS Chief Mark Mitchell, released on Thursday, January 14th.
Durham Regional Police had a similar interpretation of the powers granted to authorities in the new stay at home order. “Under Ontario’s new stay-at-home order, police do not have the authority to enter a dwelling or stop a vehicle for the singular purpose of checking compliance. The DRPS will continue enforcing non-compliance in partnership with Durham Public Health and local by-law, issuing tickets when necessary. Those found in violation could face a fine,” read a DRPS press release. “Since the pandemic began in March, DRPS has issued 16 tickets and laid 11 charges under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA); 13 tickets and eight charges under the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA); and five tickets under the Quarantine Act.”
The provincial order requires people only to leave their homes for essential work, to see their healthcare professional, to buy essential items or for exercise. However, the KLPS Chief stated there are other exemptions to the order.
“The order also said people are allowed to travel, if doing so for an exempt purpose, to another home if the person is going to be at the residence for less than 24 hours or is going to live at the home for at least two weeks. If a person is caring for parents, guardians or if they are acting as a caregiver, people are allowed to travel to perform those purposes,” he wrote, in his statement.
“For those who are moving or are making arrangements to buy or sell a property, to begin or end a lease, they will also be allowed to travel under the order. The government has said that the order does not apply to homeless people.”