Calgary city council to examine increased fines for face covering bylaw
CALGARY -- Calgary’s face covering bylaw will be before council once again Monday as the city looks at increasing the fine of a ticket to those who are non-compliant.
Coun. Evan Woolley was in talks with Police Chief Mark Neufeld last week at an emergency management committee meeting and made the suggestion.
Neufeld says he would support an increase in fines, after saying the province directed CPS not to fill the courts with $100 violation tickets.
“The $100 fine at this stage of the pandemic is fault tree,” said Neufeld. “One of the reasons why those tickets are not being written as often as they could be, some of them were being resolved with a donation to the food bank.”
Currently, the penalty for failure to wear a face covering where required is $100 and subsequent offences within a 12-month period will result in higher penalties.
That change was made late last year after having an initial fine of only $50 for a first-time offence.
Calgarian Ved Aswani says changing the fines may be a little extreme.
“I think it’s probably not fair for people that are vaccinated, but people who are not vaccinated, I think $500 is a bit too much,” he said.
Councillors hope this acts as a deterrent for those attending anti-restriction rallies, but Aswani says it probably won’t do much.
“I don’t think any sort of number would matter in that case, because they are so hell-bent on not wearing a mask and I don’t think any amount of money is going to stop them.”
Alberta Health Services, the province and police have faced vast criticism from some members of the public for not enforcing health measures at massive rallies, but police say they can’t ticket and fine everyone.
“Alberta’s current public health orders actually exempt protest and demonstration from the definition of outdoor social gathering,” said Neufeld.
The face covering bylaw is in effect until December, but can be repealed before then.
More than 380 tickets have been issued to those in contradiction to the bylaw since it was enacted last August.