City of Ottawa accused of going too far with ticketing blitz to enforce physical distancing rules
One councillor admits municipality might have gone “a bit overboard”
This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.Open this photo in galleryA person crosses Queen Street at O'Connor Street as foot and vehicular traffic remains low as people practice social distancing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. There have been complaints in multiple cities of authorities being too stringent in their enforcement of new rules.
Justin Tang/The Canadian PressThe Canadian Civil Liberties Association has criticized the City of Ottawa for overzealous ticketing to reinforce physical distancing rules, following a weekend blitz.In an open letter to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly, CCLA President Michael Bryant wrote Monday that police and bylaw officers should be educating, informing and then warning people before issuing tickets under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for disobeying guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“The point is to achieve compliance with public health goals, not drive up your municipal revenues through a ticket blitz,” Mr. Bryant wrote.Story continues below advertisementThere have been complaints in multiple cities of authorities being too stringent in their enforcement of new rules, including concerns about the ticketing of homeless individuals in Toronto and Hamilton. and a women in Montreal who faced fines after a crowd gathered to sing
Happy Birthdayto her. Though he knew of some of these complaints, Mr. Bryant said in a phone interview that the majority of complaints he heard were from Ottawa.Mr. Bryant said he appreciates there are cases where people are flagrantly disobeying the guidelines, and agrees fines may be warranted in those cases. But"the point of emergency management today is public health, not public order, at least when public order means cracking down on heretofore harmless outdoor activity,” he wrote.
Anthony Di Monte, who oversees the City of Ottawa’s bylaw services, said the city received more than 500 complaints over the weekend and issued only 43 citations. Mayor Jim Watson added that the city did try to educate residents for two weeks, “but we had a bar that was open, we had a garage sale, we had kids’ birthday parties. ... And this has to stop.”
Ottawa City Councillor Shawn Menard agreed the blitz was potentially “a bit overboard.”“There needs to be a recognition that everyone is just learning how to behave in this new world,” Mr. Menard said. “These are not criminals … these are people adjusting to a very, very odd time in our history.”
One resident, David Martinek, told the Globe he took his four-year-old son to an empty grassy patch near their home on Sunday afternoon. After kicking a ball around for 15 minutes, he noticed a bylaw officer pull up and begin writing down his license plate information. When Mr. Martinek approached the officer to clarify whether the space was even a public park, the officer abruptly told him “it’s a $700 fine,” and drove away. Mr. Martinek was not handled a physical ticket, but thought one might arrive in the mail. Asked about this case, the city said that it “cannot comment on this specific event without further information," but added that"charges with respect to parks-related offences are issued immediately in person.”
The Ministry of the Solicitor-General said in an e-mail Monday that specific rules around for physical-distancing guidelines are up to individual municipalities.Story continues below advertisement“Local enforcement personnel are encouraged to exercise discretion and use a graduated approach when enforcing provincial emergency orders,” spokesperson Brent Ross said.
Mr. Bryant said one of his main concerns is that people who receive these tickets have no recourse to fight them, given that the provincial offences courts are shut down. He also questions whether bylaw officers – who do not have the same training or oversight as police – are equipped to hand out such hefty fines.
“[It’s] a lot of power for which they’re not prepared,” he said. “That led me to be concerned that they might go enforcement crazy – and based on what’s happening in Ottawa, it appears that that’s exactly what’s happening.”
Read more: The Globe and Mail
These are not people adjusting or confused or mistaken. These are people with a blatant disregard of the health and safety of others because their own selfish wants and needs and feeling they are special and the rules don't apply to them. Ticket away. How can you go too far, to protect people? Typical Ottawa, I didn't listen to the rules and I'm getting punished so I'm going to cry about it. I see this type of behaviour. People in this city think they can do whatever they want without consequence, why because nothing ever gets enforced in the first place
LaLaKosply Montreal too, Laval too, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu too. You have to be quite the dumbass to earn such a ticket. And really be impervious to rule changes. the Canadian Civil Liberties Association should cease-and- desist until July 1. $1,000.00 in New York. With the exchange, about $1400.00 Getting off cheap in Ottawa. Perhaps some will realize we are serious. Hit the pocketbook always works.
Why do they pay just for their flight to new York.. With that fine instead StayHomeSaveLives Not at all. There are still too many morons and selfish pricks not taking this seriously. They aren't doing anything wrong. People shouldn't be out unless you really need to. People refuse to stay home to do things they don't need to be doing well that's what happens!
MLGG2 FLATTEN THE CURVE....STAY HOME....... DISTANCEING IS CRUCIAL..... WASH HANDS FREQUENTLY..... THE LIFE YOU SAVE MAY BE YOUR OWN OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE......BE DELIGENT AND SMART.....NOT FOLLOWING THE RULES DESERVES CONSEQUENCES...🙏🇨🇦❤️ I support the enforcement of social distancing Typical You are darn right they are going too far. The notion that you can put an entire nation on house arrest for several months is ridiculous. People have a right to get some sun at the parks and beaches, and municipalities should not try to raise cash off the backs of poor people.
Many old people live independently, have no relatives, but get support from various types of agencies. What happens to them now? goodeb People love power and they love to abuse power even more. This is fine. Stay home you selfish people. Stay the fuck home! There is no evidence that this policy saves anybody. But there's a mounting pile of evidence that it wrecks the economy, strangles liberty, endangers the lives of many people & menaces the health and life expectancy of millions of healthy old people
Do tickets generate city income in Ottawa? Not too far if people don’t stay home. Rose Webster GetMyGist here. City of Ottawa IS GOING TOO FAR. 90% of this spread via wildlife. 75% death via Gram -ve. 🐦x a virus 1B times MORE than 🧍. 🤼& 🐎are dead-end hosts. 😷 help w/ AIRBORNE decaying bug bits/eggs. H. longicornis 🔝 problem & will require DDT.
99freemind With officer resources being re-allocated towards nonsense like this actual criminals must think they have won the crime & punishment lottery here. 99freemind Ottawa is the most boring major city in North America. There’s nothing there worth being fined for. Stay home 99freemind I remember in the 80's my girlfriend's friend said someday the government will arrest you for not washing your hands. 😕
99freemind Revenue generation because they are losing. yeah I think they government is taking it to far with physical distancing it has people freaking out. If you are sick than stay home or go to the hospital if you are not sure if you have the virus. Its not hard just have a lot of dumb people out there is all just saying
Stay home or get fined. StayHomeCanada Sounds like it's true “CLA President Michael Bryant wrote Monday that police and bylaw officers should be educating, informing and then warning people before issuing tickets”. Anyone who needs more education, information and warning has been ignoring. TICKET, TICKET, TICKET. cdnpoli COVID19
When SJW’s meet SDW’s, the outcome is entertaining Don’t like it , stay the hell home !! Nope. Stay home. Welcome to the police state. No way, no how. When citizens refuse to follow the rules then there are consequences - fine and fine them hard JimWatsonOttawa
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