Coronavirus: Ontarians required to identify themselves if charged with breaching emergency order

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WATCH ABOVE: Coronavirus outbreak: Ford says 'snitch lines,' fines and other measures all on the table (March 30, 2020) – Mar 30, 2020

The Ontario government says people who are being charged under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) are required to identify themselves if asked by law enforcement officers.

This includes provincial offences officers such as police officers, First Nations constables, special constables and municipal bylaw enforcement officers.

The temporary power was approved by the Ontario government on March 31 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“It is essential that measures are in place to allow provincial offences officers to lawfully require an individual to disclose their correct name, date of birth and address in order to protect our communities,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said.

“By providing provincial offences officers with this temporary power to obtain identifying information under the EMCPA, they will be able to enforce emergency orders during these extraordinary times.”

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According to the Ontario government, the following fines apply:

  • Failure to correctly identify oneself comes with a $750 fine for failure to comply with an order made under the emergency act.
  • Obstructing any person in exercising a power if a provincial offences officer issues a ticket carries a fine of $1,000.
  • Failure to comply with an emergency order could carry punishments of up to one year of jail time or up to $100,000 for an individual, $500,000 for a director of a corporation or $10 million for a corporation itself if a provincial offences officer charges the individual by issuing a summons.

These penalties apply in addition to the penalties for breaching other emergency orders, the government said.

The government said emergency orders in place include the closure of non-essential businesses, prohibiting organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, and stopping price-gouging on necessary goods to deal with COVID-19.

“It is the responsibility of all Ontarians to do their part and respect the emergency orders in place. We are supporting provincial offences officers in their critical work to enforce that responsibility and ensure the safety and well-being of Ontarians,” Jones said.

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