An Ontario woman says she is shocked and confused after being slapped with a massive ticket for seeking child care at her in-laws’ house last weekend.
Natasha Kohl of Simcoe, Ont. told Global News she was picking her kids up from their grandparents’ house in Delhi, where they had been waiting while she ran a few errands, when she was stopped by police and handed a hefty $880 fine.
“I think it’s crazy because I did explain to the officer that that was my father-in-law who had the kids and he clearly watched me pick up my three kids from the house,” she told Global in an interview Monday.
The Ontario government’s current stay-at-home order does permit leaving a place of residence to attend, obtain or provide child care, which Kohl says is the main source of her confusion, but provincial police say seeking child care was not actually the reason for the fine.
“I would like to point out that this individual was not charged for dropping her kids off at grandparents,” said Derek Rogers, media relations coordinator for the OPP’s west region office, in a statement Monday. “She was charged for violating the Reopening Ontario Act.”
And in a news release, police said the OPP’s Norfolk county detachment was responding to a complaint that there were many people at the house.
“It was determined that police were contacted after several people were seen at the residence,” said Const. Ed Sanchuk said in the release. “Officers attending the area subsequently stopped a vehicle seen leaving and conducted an investigation.”
But Kohl disputes this claim, telling CTV News she was simply picking up her kids who were having lunch with their uncle and cousins, all of whom live together at the residence.
Kohl said she waited inside as they finished their pizza, and was quickly pulled over by police when they left.
“All the [police officer] said was they had a neighbour complain about a lot of traffic at the house and a possible party,” Kohl told CTV. “They had seen me leave, so they pulled me over to see if I lived at that address.”
Kohl was fined before the province’s new stay-at-home order even came into effect, and she told Global she is fighting the ticket.
“I did file not guilty,” she said, “I did send in the ticket to the local courthouse here in Simcoe, and I did have a couple of paralegals and people that are legal representatives who emailed me to represent me for free.”