As lockdown measures tighten and citizens’ activity continues to be restricted, the RCMP are about to crack down even further. Canadian police will be doing home visits to make sure citizens are complying with stay-at-home orders. On Friday, officers warned that those who are found to “recklessly” flout the orders could be issued a fine of $1 million, and receive a sentence of three years in prison.
The orders in question stem from the Quarantine Act, which was enacted on March 25. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) asked the RCMP to assist with enforcing the mandatory two-week self-quarantine for new arrivals to the country. Now they will be going door-to-door to those under the orders to let them know about the “potential consequences of non-compliance.”
Police agencies across the nation are being tasked with making sure that those who are meant to be indoors stay indoors. The officers will get physical verification that people are where they are supposed to be. The checks will be “limited to persons who, after PHAC has done initial verifications by phone, text or email, may require a physical verification by the police,” per a statement from the RCMP.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki states that "Choosing to ignore mandatory isolation and quarantine orders is not only against the law, it's also putting citizens, first responders, health professionals and the most vulnerable at risk of exposure to the virus. Collectively, everyone in Canada has a role to play to ensure compliance with isolation and physical distancing measures."
Officers will be practicing physical distancing during these home visits, and intend to “use a risk-based, measured approach to non-compliance, focusing on education and encouragement.”
The RCMP has substantial tools in its belt to enforce the orders of the Quarantine Act. At the high end, penalties will be up to $750,000 for failure to comply, while those who endanger others could be fined up to $1 million, including a three year prison term. Those who are found in violation will not be taken into custody, however, but will be given a court date for a later time. Arrests will be at the officers’ discretion.