The Province of Ontario will start fining individuals $750 who refuse to identify themselves, if in breach of an Emergency Act order.
On Tuesday, the province approved of this temporary power through an emergency order, reportedly to better protect people during the pandemic.
“It is essential that measures are in place to allow provincial offences officers to lawfully require an individual to disclose their correct name, date of birth, and address in order to protect our communities,” Sylvia Jones, solicitor general, said.
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“By providing provincial offences officers with this temporary power to obtain identifying information under the EMCPA, they will be able to enforce emergency orders during these extraordinary times.”
Now, individuals who are being charged with an offence under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) will be required to identify themselves if asked by a provincial offences officer, which includes police officers, First Nations constables, special constables, and municipal bylaw enforcement officers.
If someone refuses to provide identification the fine is $750 or $1,000 for obstructing any person in exercising a power if a provincial offences officer issues a ticket.
In addition, failure to comply with an emergency order could carry punishments of up to one-year imprisonment or a fine of up to $100,000 for an individual, $500,000 for a director of a corporation, or $10,000,000 for a corporation itself, if a provincial offences officer charges the individual by issuing a summons.
These penalties apply in addition to the penalties for breaching other emergency orders.
Ontario has been in a state of emergency since March 17.
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford extended the state of emergency for another two weeks — it can be extended and evaluated every two weeks.
The emergency orders that have been put in place to address the coronavirus pandemic include, the closure of non-essential businesses, prohibiting organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, stopping price gouging on necessary goods such as disinfectant products and closing all public recreation facilities.
Failing to comply with any of these emergency orders is also an offence under the EMCPA.
“It is the responsibility of all Ontarians to do their part and respect the emergency orders in place. We are supporting provincial offences officer in their critical work to enforce that responsibility and ensure the safety and well-being of Ontarians,” Jones said.
As of March 31, there are 1,966 known cases of the virus in Ontario, with 534 resolved and 33 deceased.