The Vancouver couple ticketed for disobeying isolation requirements and travelling to the Yukon to jump the COVID-19 vaccine queue has been identified.
Rod Baker, 55, and his wife, Ekaterina Baker, 32, were ticketed and charged in Whitehorse on Thursday for breaking Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act.
The couple was required by territorial law to isolate for 14 days upon arrival but allegedly took a private plane to the remote community of Beaver Creek to receive the Moderna vaccine.
They each received two $575 fines for failing to self isolate and failing to behave in a manner consistent with their declaration, according to the tickets filed in the court registry and provided to Global News on Monday.
Also on Monday, Great Canadian Gaming Corp. announced that Rod Baker has stepped down as its president and chief executive.
Rod Baker was also a member of Great Canadian Gaming’s board of directors.
In 2019, he was compensated $10,643,072 by Great Canadian Gaming according to the company’s financial statements.
In a statement to Global News Monday night, Great Canadian Gaming Corp. said it does not comment on personal matters relating to former employees, but that the company will not tolerate staff who do not comply with strict compliance policies in regards to travel.
“Great Canadian’s board of directors has no tolerance for actions that run counter to the company’s objectives and values. Since the onset of the pandemic our overriding focus as a company has been on doing everything we can to keep our people healthy, and to enable our communities to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Great Canadian Gaming Corp. Chuck Keeling said.
A mobile vaccine team had been administering the vaccine to the isolated community of around 100 people in Beaver Creek, including members of the White River First Nation.
The couple has 30 days to pay the ticket or plead not guilty and receive a court date to challenge the ticket.
Ekaterina Baker is an actress who most recently appeared in the movie Chick Fight.
Beaver Creek was chosen as a priority to receive the vaccine because it’s a remote border community.
“When I first saw a picture of the couple today my first thought was privilege,” said White River First Nation member and COVID-19 Inter-agency lead Janet VanderMeer.
VanderMeer told Global News Monday that she was angry to discover the couple flew into the Nation’s traditional territory, lied to officials, and took two vaccines from those who need it the most.
“Our oldest resident of Beaver Creek, who is 88 years old, was in the same room as this couple. My mom, who’s palliative, was in the same room as this couple… Probably the two most vulnerable members of our community were in the same room and the risk of exposure that this privileged couple, how do you justify a $500 fine?”
“I think of the risks they put our elders, our seniors, members of our community. It’s outrageous.”
The White River First Nation is now vowing to do everything to ensure a stricter punishment for this couple.
“That’s gotta be jail time. I can’t see anything less. For what our community has been through the last few days. The exhaustion. It’s just mind-boggling,” VanderMeer said.
The Chief of the White River First Nation echoed those sentiments Monday, saying he has been in contact with the government and RCMP.
“We implore all Canadians to respect the vaccination rollout process and to not take similar actions. While we understand many want to have a vaccination immediately, it is not appropriate to skirt the rules put in place and approach our community in this way, ” White River First Nation Chief Angela Demit said.
B.C’s top doctor was asked about the incident Monday during the daily COVID-19 update, and Dr. Bonnie Henry did not mince words.
“I think they should be ashamed of themselves. They put a community at risk for their own gain and that is appalling,” Henry said.
On Friday, Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker said he was outraged that a couple had allegedly chartered a flight to Beaver Creek to get the shots only two days after arriving in the territory, despite declaring they would follow the mandatory two-week self-isolation protocol.
Streicker said the pair allegedly presented themselves as visiting workers, misleading staff at the mobile clinic in Beaver Creek.
He said territorial enforcement officers received a call about the couple, who were later intercepted at the Whitehorse Airport.
– with files from the Canadian Press