Waiting on detail from province, Toronto without ‘any kind of enforcement or response plan’ for Thursday stay-at-home order

Waiting on detail from province, Toronto without ‘any kind of enforcement or response plan’ for Thursday stay-at-home order
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The province says all provincial offences officers in Ontario — including OPP, local police, bylaw, and workplace inspectors — have the authority to enforce stay-at-home measures that go into effect Thursday.

Yet with hours remaining until the new province-wide restrictions kicked in, fire Chief Matthew Pegg, who is leading Toronto’s preparedness and response to COVID-19, said the city lacks the details needed to develop and implement an enforcement plan.

“Literally, the best information we have right now comes off a media release and a slide deck,” Pegg, who is also the city’s fire chief, told the daily media briefing alongside Mayor John Tory and Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health.

Pegg acknowledged that without seeing the “actual regulations” before the midnight deadline, the Ontario government’s new orders will go into effect without “any kind of enforcement or response plan.”

On Tuesday, the government said Ontarians will , such as going to work, buy food, go to the drugstore, attend a doctor’s appointment or exercise.

The province said it will provide authority to all provincial offences officers, including police, to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the stay-at-home order. They also have the authority to temporarily close a premesis and disperse individuals who violate of outdoor gathering limits of up to five people. Fines can include $750 for offences defined as “failing to comply with an order.”

“We are taking extraordinary action to provide law enforcement officers with the tools and support they need to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a news release.

But as of late afternoon Wednesday, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, Toronto Police Service, and the Ontario Provincial Police, had still not received any guidance from the province in terms of what’s expected from front-line officers.

“We still don’t know anything further,” said OACP spokesman Joe Couto. OPP Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne said officers will continue to enforce existing rules, but are waiting clarity around the new stay-at-home measures. Said Toronto Police Service spokeswoman Meaghan Gray: “We’ll continue doing what we do until we receive further or different direction.”
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