Coronavirus: Alberta doubles fine for violating COVID-19 public health orders

Coronavirus: Alberta doubles fine for violating COVID-19 public health orders
Coronavirus: Alberta doubles fine for violating COVID-19 public health orders

The Alberta government is introducing new enforcement measures for those not following current COVID-19 public health orders, including doubling the basic fine for offenders.

In order to reinforce the importance of following public health orders and the consequences of not doing so, the Alberta government announced on Tuesday that it would be strengthening enforcement measures.

Those found violating Public Health Act orders will now face a base fine of $2,000 – doubling the previous fine for a violation of COVID-19 measures in Alberta. The maximum fine for serious offences remains at $100,000, under the law.

The province says that an amendment will be made to enable the increased fines to take effect as soon as possible.

Additionally, repeat offenders, including individuals, organizations and businesses, who continually violate public health orders will be targeted with a new enforcement protocol, according to a news release from the Alberta government.

“We will not tolerate those who endanger the health of their fellow Albertans, while the vast majority of people are doing the right thing,” said Premier Jason Kenney during a public address on Tuesday evening.

This protocol is now in place, and it’s used to coordinate a multi-agency response against repeat offenders. This means that if one enforcement agency is unable to gain compliance from offenders, a combination of partners will work together to respond to the situation using the most effective measures.

Partners in the provincial group of enforcement agencies include Alberta Health Services, Occupational Health and Safety, Alberta Prosecution Service, and local police services.

“By sharing information and discussing the enforcement actions this way, on top of doubling the fines, public health orders will be enforced more effectively and consistently than before,” Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said during a Wednesday morning press conference.

The news release notes that Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis will also participate in cases involving licensees or activities that fall under its jurisdiction.

The new protocol also outlines steps for ongoing monitoring, which helps authorities decide how to escalate legal and regulatory consequences against offenders that refuse to comply with enforcement measures.

“As is the case with the public health orders themselves,” reads the new release, “the goal of this enforcement protocol is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and the resulting threat to public health and strain on the health care system.”

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