Ontario is temporarily expanding police powers during the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order so officers can stop people on the street and ask them why they’re out.
Officers will be able to ask people for their home address and their reason for being out, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said at a news conference Friday.
Police will also be allowed to pull drivers over and ask for the same information.
These expanded powers kick in Saturday, April 17 at 12:01 am.
People who refuse to cooperate and don’t answer police questions could get a ticket for $750, Jones added.
Several public health and social justice advocates in Toronto criticized the province’s move as a return to carding, a practice that’s been slammed for its negative impacts that disproportionately affect people of colour.
this is a humanitarian crisis that will only get worse. people in poverty are dying and the policy response is police carding not paid sick leave or housing.
this is now the most damning policy response I have ever seen in my career.
— Andrew Baback Boozary, MD, MPP (@drandrewb) April 16, 2021
So carding. This man just made carding a provincial mandate. https://t.co/JNZ8CQ3fLJ
— Lily O | Abolish the Police (@obeng_lily) April 16, 2021
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Police’s expanded abilities are part of a slew of new COVID-19 restrictions meant to slow the exponential growth in cases Ontario is currently seeing.
Outdoor gatherings with non-household members are prohibited, outdoor sports facilities will be closed, grocery store capacity limits are being reduced, and the province is setting up checkpoints at the road boarders with Quebec and Manitoba.
The Stay-at-Home order has also been extended to last for a total of six weeks. It’s set to expire on May 19, 2021.