Changes to Ontario's new restrictions could be coming soon

Yolanda Curtis
April 19, 2021

Ontario Provincial Police say their operations did not change on Saturday after the Ontario government announced and then revised new police powers to enforce the provincial stay-at-home order.

"Moving forward, police will have the authority to require any individual who is not in a place of residence to, first, provide their goal for not being at home, and provide their home address", Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said, adding this also means motor vehicles can be randomly pulled over.

Instead, she says, police will only be able to stop people who they have reason to believe are participating in an "organized public event or social gathering".

Other measures include further restrictions on outdoor gatherings and indoor religious services, while recreational facilities such as sports fields and playgrounds are now closed.

"We will hear more about that in the next day or so, but it is being looked at", says Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Can the police randomly stop me to enforce the stay-at-home order?

In a tweet Saturday morning, Toronto police said they will focus on educating the public first.

The majority of police agencies in Ontario said they would not enforce the restrictions by conducting random stops of individuals.

The modified provincial emergency order would give police the power to stop people and ask them about where they live, and why they're not at home. It has since modified parts of that order relating to park playgrounds and policing powers.

"I am very concerned about arbitrary stops of people by police at any time", Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a tweet.

In announcing them, Ford said the province was "on its heels" and new measures were urgently needed. Social gatherings associated with the services are prohibited unless with members of the same household or one other person from outside the household who lives alone. "The reality here is that this will likely impact Black, Indigenous, and people of colour".

Failure to provide the information can lead to fines or charges.

Ontario is reporting 4,250 new cases of COVID-19 in the province as hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units both reached new highs over the past 24 hours.

Yes. However, starting Monday, Ontario will set up checkpoints at interprovincial borders to restrict land travel between Quebec and Manitoba to essential travel only.

Big box stores can remain open, but at only 25 per cent capacity.

"Today, on the 39th anniversary of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I demand that Doug Ford reverse his unconscionable decision to inappropriately enlist Ontario's police services to do his dirty work", Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca said in a statement on Saturday.

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