To reinforce the importance of following public health orders and the consequences of not doing so, the Alberta government says fines will double to $2,000 for Public Health Act violations.
To do this, an Order in Council will amend the Procedures Regulation of the Provincial Offences Procedure Act to enable the increased fines to take effect as soon as possible.
“Most Albertans have gone above and beyond in making sacrifices to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, and yet there are some who refuse to follow public health orders and flaunt their non-compliance. There’s no excuse for this type of behaviour in the face of a public health crisis,” Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General said. “The men and women of law enforcement will now have the authority to issue stiff penalties, up to $2,000, to recalcitrant individuals and organizations. Additionally, Alberta’s government has developed a new enforcement protocol that brings together law enforcement and all relevant government agencies to effectively target the more complex and flagrant cases of non-compliance and repeat offenders.”
Repeat offenders, whether individuals, organizations or businesses, who are repeatedly or continually violating public health orders will be targeted with a new enforcement protocol. The protocol is now in place and will be used to coordinate a multi-agency response to repeat offenders.
If one organization is unable to gain compliance, a coalition of enforcement partners will work with each other to respond as quickly as possible with the most effective measures to gain compliance in that situation. The protocol also outlines steps for ongoing monitoring, which will assist authorities with deciding how to escalate legal and regulatory consequences against offenders that refuse to comply with previous enforcement measures.
Partners in the provincial group include Alberta Health Services, Occupational Health and Safety, Alberta Prosecution Service and local police services. Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis will also participate when cases involve licensees or activities under its jurisdiction.
As is the case with the public health orders themselves, the goal of this enforcement protocol is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and the resulting threat to public health and strain on the health care system.