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Province provides details on new police powers during stay-at-home order

The additional authority bestowed by the province will last for the duration of the stay-at-home order
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Solicitor General Sylvia Jones speaks during an April 16 announcement by the Ontario government.

The Ontario government announced it is giving police extra authorities to enforce the stay-at-home order in place for at least the next five weeks. 

During an April 16 press conference, Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones announced that going forward police would have the authority to ask any individual who is not in a home to provide their purpose for not being at home and to provide their home address. 

Police will also have the authority to stop vehicles to ask why the driver and/or passengers are leaving their homes. 

“If you are not willing to comply, then you are breaking the law and there is an option for the police officer to issue a ticket,” said Jones. 

The fine for contravening the Emergency Management and Protection Act can be up to $750.

“Unfortunately some people continue to attend gatherings and leave their homes for non-essential reasons,” said Jones. “I cannot stress this enough. It is imperative that everyone limit their trips outside of the home to permitted purposes only such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, medical appointments, exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.” 

This announcement was included in a list of added restrictions that take effect between now and Monday, including prohibitions on all outdoor gatherings unless the people gathering share the same household. Those who live alone may join one household for close contact. 

Premier Doug Ford urged people to stay at home, observing its “business as usual” at the parks he drives by. 

“It feels like we’ve all been pushing this boulder up a mountain,” said Ford. “Until we have more vaccines we need stricter measures … we need cooperation.” 

Both Ford and Jones encouraged people to exercise personal responsibility in following public health measures and the stay-at-home order. 

“I’m never going to encourage people to inundate the bylaw enforcement or police department with calls,” said Jones. “But if it means saving lives, then I think we have to think about what your social responsibilities are as an individual.”

The added police authority will be in place for the duration of the stay-at-home order, according to the province’s April 16 announcement. The stay-at-home order is in place until at least May 20.