Manitoba has a new threshold for fines for those who don’t follow the public health rules around COVID-19.
The provincial cabinet approved a new maximum fine of $5,000 Wednesday – nearly double the current penalty – for some who flout public health orders.
“Along with stronger public health orders, these new and substantially higher fines are an additional tool to help keep Manitobans safe,” said Premier Brian Pallister.
For people, the fine was $486 but has now risen to $1,296, the second-highest such fine level in Canada. For corporations, the fine was $2,542 and is now $5,000.
“All of us, we’re tired of COVID, frustrated by COVID, fed up with COVID,” said Pallister.
“Sadly, there is a small minority of those who are not doing their part.”
The new fines are effective immediately.
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 all have the power to issue fines.
In the past, only about 1 per cent of complaints have led to a fine in Manitoba.
Pallister said 134 tickets have been handed out so far.
On Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said the new restrictions introduced that day would be enforceable under the law.
“We have issued fines in the past where required, and we’ll be looking at ways to step up enforcement efforts in the coming weeks,” he said.
“We are going to get tougher on enforcement. We’re going to look at potentially increasing the fines that we can levy in this regard.”
Roussin said, however, that enforcement, like masks, isn’t the only thing that can help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“And while these rules are serious, there is more beyond the rules that each of us must do to change our behaviour … we don’t need an order to change our behaviour.”
Fines have been imposed in the past, mostly for Winnipeg restaurants for not following social distancing rules.View link »