Many police forces in Ontario say they will not be stopping motorists or people at random to enforce new COVID-19 rules.
Several GTA services – including Durham, Toronto, Peel, York, Halton and Hamilton – say they’ll be basing their enforcement on complaints or obvious violations of the measures.
Also making the pledge are police in Peterborough, Niagara, Kawartha Lakes and Barrie, among others.
The powers allow officers to stop anyone and ask where they live and why they aren’t at home.
Failure to provide the information can lead to fines or charges.
Premier Doug Ford says the province is “on its heels” and new measures are urgently needed.
Civil libertarians, politicians and analysts have condemned the added police powers.
On Friday, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association described it as “a Black Friday of rights slashing” – saying it carries a risk of racial profiling.
Durham police have released the following statement:
Yesterday, the Ontario government announced new measures that are intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. This included enhanced enforcement measures for police officers. However, DRPS officers will not be conducting random vehicle or pedestrian stops in our community under this new legislation.
We will continue to engage our community, educate when appropriate and enforce when necessary any breaches of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) or the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA). Also, we are continuing to review the legislation and will provide further updates as needed.
DRPS urges residents to take personal responsibility to follow the public health guidelines and advice set out by the province of Ontario in order to limit your contacts with others. Stay home unless leaving for an essential reason as outline by the provincial government (https://covid-19.ontario.ca/). Do not gather inside or outside with anyone who is not from your household. And wear masks and practice social distancing when out in public.