Coronavirus: Alberta cracks down on repeat COVID-19 rule-breakers with new protocols

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Alberta is cracking down on repeat offenders breaking COVID-19 health rules by better coordinating the responses of multiple government agencies, Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu said Wednesday morning.

Madu said that, along with increasing fines for public health violations to $2,000 from $1,000, the government has created new protocols for those agencies, but he did not give specifics. He said the government will take “concrete action” for those complex cases where some have flagrantly and repeatedly defied rules meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the protocols will speed up the process.

“It’s become clear that there are a small few who refuse to comply with reasonable and legitimate public health orders. As Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, it troubles me and to see the rule of law being eroded in this way. Action must be taken,” he said.

“This protocol is establishing coordination and accountability between the partner agencies to quickly and effectively resolve incidents.”

The new protocols are for individuals, organizations and businesses who repeatedly break public health orders, according to a government news release.

Organizations involved include law enforcement, Alberta Health Services, Occupational Health and Safety, Alberta Prosecution Service, and Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis.

“If one organization is unable to gain compliance, a coalition of enforcement partners will work with each other to respond as quickly as possible with the most effective measures to gain compliance in that situation,” reads the news release.

“The protocol also outlines steps for ongoing monitoring, which will assist authorities with deciding how to escalate legal and regulatory consequences against offenders that refuse to comply with previous enforcement measures.”

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