People who break COVID-19 public health and emergency orders in Manitoba will now face stiffer fines.
“The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in our province is concerning, which is why our government is taking further action to protect Manitobans,” said Premier Brian Pallister as he announced the revised penalties Wednesday. “Along with stronger public health orders, these new and substantially higher fines are an additional tool to help keep Manitobans safe.”
Amendments have been made to the Preset Fines and Offence Descriptions Regulation that establish new fine amounts for failure to comply with public health and emergency orders. For individuals, the fine was previously $486 and will now rise to $1,296. This will be the second-highest such fine level in Canada, according to the Province. For corporations, the fine was previously $2,542 and will now rise to $5,000.
"The vast majority of Manitobans, it should be noted, are doing everything the doctor has ordered and they're following the fundamentals, that is important and I thank them for that," said Premier Pallister. "...sadly though there is a small, small minority of people who are not doing their part and they're ignoring the advice of our public health experts. They are putting their health at risk, they are putting the personal and financial health of all Manitobans at risk as well."
In addition to higher fines, the Manitoba government will continue to increase enforcement of the public health orders across the province. Agencies with the authority to enforce these orders include the RCMP and other police agencies, the Health Protection Unit, Manitoba Conservation and Climate, Workplace Safety and Health, and the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority.
The Manitoba government is also working to amend existing provincial regulations to enable municipal bylaw enforcement officers to enforce public health and emergency orders.
"Protecting each other is the job that we face, all of us have that obligation and at the end of the day additional enforcement measures are needed to get us back on track, to help bend the COVID-curve and to help us protect each other," added the Premier.
Larger fines and increased enforcement of public health orders are the latest measures undertaken by the Manitoba government to combat COVID-19 in the province.
In recent weeks, a number of proactive measures have also been taken including more than doubling testing capacity, signing an agreement to substantially increase contact tracing and partnering with Red River College to rapidly train additional staff to work on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19.
“The fight against COVID is a team effort that requires all hands on deck and I know Manitobans are ready to do their part,” says Pallister. “By following the fundamentals and complying with our public health orders, we can protect each other and reduce the risk of COVID-19.”
As of Oct. 12, 134 tickets for failing to comply with Manitoba’s public health and emergency orders had been filed with the Provincial Offences Court. The new fine levels come into effect today.