Canada Newfoundland woman arrested for refusing to self isolate after talking to police
Woman arrested in Corner Brook for violating public health orders
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says a woman ignored orders to stay home after she arrived from outside the province, so they put her in a holding cell. The 53-year-old woman was arrested in Corner Brook. She is facing a charge under the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act, which carries a maximum fine of $5,000. Police CBC News Tuesday their primary goal was to educate people on the need to stay home and arrests would only come if someone refused to comply.In this case, police said education wasn't enough."Medical officials have been loud and clear this virus could devastate our community," said RNC media relations officer James Cadigan.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The arrest of a Newfoundland woman for refusing to stay home after she returned from a trip outside the province is raising questions about the extent to which law enforcement agencies can limit basic freedoms to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary confirmed Wednesday the 53-year-old woman was arrested the night before in Corner Brook and placed in a jail cell overnight for allegedly violating public health emergency orders aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
Const. James Cadigan said officers responded to complaints alleging the woman was not self-isolating for 14 days, as required under Newfoundland and Labrador's Public Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Failing to self-isolate could throw civil liberties into 'jeopardy,' Hajdu warns
Health Minister Patty Hajdu gave a stern warning to Canadians defying self-isolation orders Saturday, saying that a failure to follow public health guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19 could "put our civil liberties in jeopardy." "It makes governments have to look at more and more stringent measures to actually contain people in their own homes," Hajdu said during a news conference attended by other cabinet ministers. "Our freedoms around"It makes governments have to look at more and more stringent measures to actually contain people in their own homes," Hajdu said during a news conference attended by other cabinet ministers.
He said officers spoke to the woman and arrested her for failing to comply with the law, which could lead to a fine of between $500 and $2,500 or a jail sentence of up to six months.
"If you're going to put our community at risk, we will follow up on those measures," Cadigan said.
However, the head of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said police are on murky legal ground, even though dealing with a global pandemic can call for extraordinary measures.
"If it's a measure of last resort and the police exercise their discretion in a way that puts public health first ... then there is legal authorization to do this," said Michael Bryant, the association's executive director.
But Bryant said there are important constitutional issues to consider, and putting someone in jail is not necessarily the best approach.
Summerside man issued $1K fine for violating COVID-19 health order to self-isolate
Summerside police say a 27-year-old man has been issued a $1,000 fine for violating a public health order to self-isolate upon returning from another province. Police issued the summary offence ticket under the Public Health Act at about 10 a.m. Tuesday morning on Granville Street in Summerside. The man was spotted in the passenger seat of a vehicle. It was not the first time he had been warned by officials to remain at home and self-isolate. Police first discovered that the man had recently returned from a trip off-Island at a traffic stop on Monday morning. They warned him that he needed to return home and self-isolate.
"It's not clear to me that a quarantine order for travel outside of a province is constitutional," he said in an interview.
"Any travel order than restricts people's travel from province to province, arguably, could run afoul of our constitutional rights to mobility. This may be an opportunity to test this particular Newfoundland law that clearly restricts mobility rights."
Later in the day, the federal government announced it will start enforcing 14-day quarantines on travellers returning to Canada. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said mandatory isolation is needed to flatten the curve of the growth of the novel coronavirus in Canada.
The formal quarantine order comes with the potential for arrests and fines.
In Quebec City, police arrested a woman last week who they say was infected with the virus and was walking outside after being ordered to stay indoors.
Police hand fines to people ignoring rules aimed at slowing spread of COVID-19
HALIFAX — Police in Nova Scotia are getting serious about imposing fines on people caught ignoring provincial orders aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. On Sunday, Halifax Regional Police handed a $697 fine to a woman who was walking in Point Pleasant Park, which has been closed to visitors since the province declared a state of emergency on March 22. As well, the woman's car was impounded. On Saturday, the Truro Police Service issued aOn Sunday, Halifax Regional Police handed a $697 fine to a woman who was walking in Point Pleasant Park, which has been closed to visitors since the province declared a state of emergency on March 22.
The arrest marked the first time Quebec City's public health director issued an order to police under emergency powers granted after Premier Francois Legault declared a public health emergency March 14.
"When it became obvious we had to act, we acted," Mathieu Boivin, spokesman for Quebec City's regional health authority, said last week.
Legault has said the health emergency gives the police "all sorts of powers" to enforce his directives. Quebec also announced fines of at least $1,000 against anyone ignoring directives that prohibit gatherings.
Last Sunday, Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency to deal with the pandemic and immediately enacted new restrictions and penalties under the province's Health Protection Act.
People in Nova Scotia are prohibited from gathering in groups larger than five. Individuals caught violating the limit face a $1,000 fine, and businesses allowing large groups to gather face a $7,500 fine.
On Monday, Prince Edward Island and the City of Vancouver also introduced new penalties for anyone caught violating public health directives.
P.E.I. Justice Minister Bloyce Thompson said there would be a fine of $1,000 for a first offence, $2,000 for a second offence and $10,000 for any subsequent offences.
Vancouver city council voted unanimously to permit fines as high as $50,000 against businesses that don't adhere to social distancing measures and up to $1,000 for individuals.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2020.
— By Michael MacDonald with files from Holly McKenzie-Sutter.
The Canadian Press
More than 500 members of Toronto Police Service in self-isolation, says association president .
More than 500 members of the Toronto Police Service — including civilian and uniform members — are in self-isolation, says Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack. Five members of the Toronto Police Service have tested positive for COVID-19 — one civilian and four uniformed officers — but McCormack says after returning from March break, hundreds had to self-isolate for two weeks as required by law. "It's just something that we'reFive members of the Toronto Police Service have tested positive for COVID-19 — one civilian and four uniformed officers — but McCormack says after returning from March break, hundreds had to self-isolate for two weeks as required by law.