A thousand reasons to follow the rules: Alberta government to issue COVID-19 fines
CALGARY -- The province of Alberta has given authorities the power to issue tickets to those found in violation of COVID-19 guidelines.
Premier Jason Kenney announced the incoming measures Wednesay during an afternoon update at the Alberta legislature.
"Today we are moving from asking people to act responsibly to instead using the full force of the law to legally require that people act responsibly to protect public health," Kenney said.
Kenney said the overwhelming majority of Albertans have been very responsible and civic minded when it comes to responding to the COVID-19 crisis, but some people still don't seem to get it.
He added tickets for offences will start at $1,000 per violation and courts will have powers to issue fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.
In addition to the fines, it is now legally required in Alberta for travellers returning from outside the country to self-isolate for 14 days. This measure was also implemented Wednesday at the federal level under the federal Quarantine Act.
The rule also applies to people with confirmed cases of COVID-19, anyone exhibiting symptoms or anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
"These new enforcement measures are a reasonable, prudent but necessary response to the escalating COVID-19 outbreak in Alberta," Kenney said.
The powers are being enforced through a ministerial order under the public health emergency.
Kenney said the government is preparing amendments that would extend these public health enforcement powers to community peace officers. The government is also talking to municipalities about expanding these powers to municipal bylaw officers as well.
"This step is serious, and it is necessary. We must do everything possible to stop the spread of COVID-19, to support our health care workers and keep our families, friends, neighbours and vulnerable Albertans safe," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer.
Sixty-one new cases of the virus were announced in Alberta, bringing the provincial total to 419.
Full details of the plan will be announced later in the week.