The Premier is asking Manitobans to encourage and help each other as some residents become unwilling to follow public health orders.
More and more Manitoba are contracting COVID-19. As of Wednesday morning, there are 1,774 active cases in the province. Those with the virus are told to isolate until they have been cleared by health officials but throughout the pandemic, not all have been following the orders.
"Some people appear not to be able to learn, despite efforts from many," Premier Brian Pallister says. "Some people appear to be unwilling to accept their personal responsibility and they will be accountable for that in future because they will be paying a fine if they are spreading COVID and putting other people at risk."
The province has previously fined individuals for not following public health orders but today Pallister is announcing a large jump in the fees and says if someone suspects that a COVID-19 positive person is not isolating, to tell the province.
"We have a shared responsibility," Pallister says. "I do not think we should be shy about trying to protect ourselves and we should not be shy about trying to help other people protect themselves either."
Previously the fine for an individual not following public health orders, including not isolating when being directed to, was $486. It is now being more than doubled to $1,296. Pallister says the jump is based on what other provinces have set their amounts to.
"I think that fine will put us at the second-highest level of fines in Canada. We now have the first or second-highest level of COVID transmission. Our positivity ratings are coming down, but they are still high and we are acting accordingly."
In Winnipeg, the province says reports of non-compliance can be made by calling 311, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by Twitter: @cityofwinnipeg. The City of Winnipeg has recently upgraded their 311 webpages.
Outside of Winnipeg, the province says reports of non-compliance can be made to the Manitoba Government Inquiry (MGI) inquiry line at 204-945-3744, (toll-free) at 1-866-626-4862 or by email at email@example.com.
"We are all in this together and I hope that we are not shy in offering encouragement and help to one another if we see a problem."
Pallister says he has heard of people not going for COVID-19 testing due to testing wait times but says the province is addressing it.
"If you are isolating that is fine. I suppose it is sad, but you are not hurting somebody else. But if you are not getting testing when you have symptoms that is a problem."
If a person believes they have wrongly been fined by enforcement officers, they can appeal it. Pallister says he believes there is an appeal mechanism in place for people to use if they feel they have been unfairly fined. The Province of Manitoba says this information is available on the ticket itself.
Pallister says "we have to encourage each other" during the pandemic and the increased fines are part of the province's attempt to encourage people to follow health orders.