Wealthy B.C. couple who jumped COVID vaccine queue in the Yukon plead guilty, issued fines

Click to play video: 'Vancouver couple sentenced for vaccine queue jumping in the Yukon'
Vancouver couple sentenced for vaccine queue jumping in the Yukon
They avoided jail time but not everyone is happy with the sentence handed down today for a Vancouver couple who used deceitful means to get their COVID shots in the Yukon. The small First Nations community where they got the vaccines was calling for a harsher sentence. But as Catherine Urquhart reports, the couple did pay a price. – Jun 16, 2021

A wealthy Vancouver couple pleaded guilty to jumping the queue to get their COVID-19 vaccine in the Yukon earlier this year.

Rod and Ekaterina Baker appeared via video link, entering guilty pleas to two charges each under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act.

The court was asking for the maximum fines to be laid in this case.

The Bakers were each fined $1,150 – $500 for each charge plus a $75 surcharge.

They will not serve any time in jail.

In January, the Bakers travelled to the remote community of Beaver Creek in a private plane and misrepresented themselves to get their first doses.

They had reportedly ignored the territory’s 14-day mandatory quarantine rules upon arrival and were eventually fined $575 each and charged under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act.

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Rod Baker also subsequently stepped down as president and chief executive of Great Canadian Gaming.

In a community impact statement from the White River First Nation, read in court Wednesday, they said many community members developed anxiety and were shocked and outraged after the news of the Bakers’ actions reached their community.

Words that were used in the community to describe the couple’s actions included: white privilege, entitlement, outrage, disgust, premeditated, deceitful, above the law, anger and confusion among others.

The statement said there was a great deal of concern over contracting COVID in the community as Beaver Creek only has one medical station, staffed by a nurse, and no doctor. If anyone becomes severely ill or needs treatment they must travel 457 kilometres to reach a doctor.

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They also believe that the international attention from this case has negatively affected the desirability of their town as a place to visit and the community is worried about what that means for the future.

“It could take years to mend the community’s emotional, physical and psychological strain that this incident has created,” the statement ends.

The White River First Nation says the Bakers have never apologized for their actions, calling their behaviour “callous and irresponsible.”

The First Nation also said previously they have not received an apology from the Bakers for their actions.

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