In an effort to ensure that residents are maintaining physical distancing as a means of slowing the outbreak of COVID-19, municipalities across Ontario have begun imposing hefty fines to promote compliance. The imposition of these fines follow the Government of Ontario’s physical distancing orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, whereby gatherings of more than five (5) people were prohibited. Furthermore, these by-laws and fines are important for employers, as they affect the ways in which businesses must operate in the midst of the global pandemic.
On March 31, the City of Brampton enacted the Brampton COVID-19 Emergency Measures By-Law, which imposes a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum fine of up to $100,000 for individuals who fail to abide by the physical distancing order while on Public Property. Public Property is defined to include land, premises or buildings owned, managed or maintained by the City of Brampton. More specifically, the by-law provides as follows:
- Every person shall maintain at least a 2.0 metre distance from every other person when on public property (except persons who live together in the same premises);
- No person shall permit a child under the age of 16 to be less than a 2.0 metre distance from another Person when on Public Property, except Persons who reside together in the same premises
- No business operating during the COVID-19 Emergency shall permit any person to be seated or to be standing inside or outside the business at a distance of less than 2.0 metres from every other person (again, except for those who reside together in the same premises); and
- No person shall attend on the premises or use
any of the following Public Property
- Playgrounds and other structures in parks
- Off leash dog parks
- picnic shelters
- outdoor sports facilities and outdoor fitness equipment, including sports fields, basketball and tennis courts
- recreational centres and surrounding lands, and
- parking lots.
We note that employers working in the construction industry should be aware of this by-law should they be performing any construction work in or on City of Brampton as this by-law may affect how work is performed and managed.
Other municipalities in Ontario have implemented or are in the process of implementing enforcement regimes to ensure compliance to social distancing requirements. in Hamilton, residents who continue to gather in groups of five or more people run the risk of being fined $750. Indeed, these fines may be imposed by both by-law officers, as well as the police.
For the City of Toronto, it was announced on April 1 that a draft by-law which would result in a fine for anyone failing to remain two metres apart and for gathering in groups exceeding five people. Also, mandatory orders have been issued by the City of Toronto that directs anyone with COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19 to self isolate.
We will continue to update our clients with information as soon as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s other COVID-19 website resources.