Update: New Provincial Authorities to Support Public Health Orders

Posted On Saturday April 17, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, April 17, 2021   3:26pm 

(Ottawa)—The Ottawa Police Service continues to work with its public health, municipal and policing partners to implement new Provincial enforcement measures to support public health orders announced by the Province Friday.

Our community is facing the crisis of the pandemic together and we will continue to support the overall public health efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Public trust and cooperation are vital to this approach and the unnecessary or inequal application of any new authorities is unacceptable and harmful to that effort.

New Authorities: Until such time as we have thoroughly reviewed the new authorities as per the All Chiefs Memo / Orders in Council and they are clearly understood, there will be no change in our actions as a result of the provincial announcement related to new authorities.  Further communication will be forthcoming with clear direction on the new authorities, once they have been reviewed.

We have sought the expert advice of Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and its Board of Health on how any new authorities can best be implemented to positively impact health outcomes related to the pandemic. We will be following any OPH advice or requests for support closely to ensure these authorities are only used for their intended purpose of supporting public health orders and public health outcomes.

The OPS will not be conducting random stops. We will be taking a deliberate and careful approach that emphasizes equity, legality, and efficacy in the application of these authorities with the specific and exclusive purpose to support public health measures.

We are also consulting our Community Equity Council to ensure community voices are part of any implementation plan. The concerns raised by racialized and marginalized communities are top of mind.

Our members have been called upon to assist in this effort and we require community support to be effective. Our members are experiencing unrelenting criticism while we are doing everything possible to rebuild public trust with marginalized and racialized communities.

Interprovincial crossings: Our Pandemic planning and Traffic teams are working with their partners to design an operational plan for restriction at interprovincial bridges. A further update on these plans will be provided by Sunday evening.

We ask members of the public to follow the advice and guidelines of public health officials and follow the provisions of the Stay-at-home order. 

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CONTACT:

Media Relations Section

Tel: 613-236-1222, ext. 5366

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 16, 2021   9:50pm 

New Provincial Enforcement Measures to Support Public Health Orders

(Ottawa)—The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) continues to work in support of and in coordination with Ottawa Public Health, City of Ottawa By-law and our municipal partners to address the rising risks associated to the Covid-19 pandemic. The OPS is developing an implementation strategy for new measures and authorities announced today by the Province to enforce public health orders designed to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“The cooperation of the residents of Ottawa has been the most important factor in the community response to Covid-19. We continue to rely on it and we thank the residents of this city. We ask members of the public to follow the advice and guidelines of public health officials,” said Chief Peter Sloly. “All of these directives are new and we will take the time needed to analyze the requirements, to assess the full impacts on our community and to work on risk mitigation before implementation. In order to maintain public trust and support our members in their work, it is important we get this right.”

Provincial Orders

Today, the Government of Ontario announced several new restrictions on outdoor activities and gatherings beginning Saturday, April 17 at 12:01 a.m.

In addition, to increase public compliance with the Provincial Stay-at-Home order and stop the spread of Covid-19, amendments to an emergency order (O.Reg 8/21 Enforcement of COVID-19 Measures) have been made that will provide police officers and other provincial offences officers enhanced authority to support the enforcement of Ontario's Stay-at-Home order: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/61192/ontario-strengthens-enforcement-of-stay-at-home-order.

“We are carefully reviewing these new authorities. We are very mindful of the perceptions of the broader public as well as within our more marginalized, racialized and/or Indigenous/Aboriginal/Inuit peoples,” said Chief Sloly. “The OPS will continue to use a combination of education, engagement and enforcement.  We do not want these powers to impact public trust. The public’s compliance with the Stay-at-Home order along with their collective effort to be healthy is our biggest strength and our best chance to manage this public health emergency.”

New Authority: Under the updated orders, police have the authority to stop and make inquiries of individuals who are out in public spaces and not at their home address (pedestrians, motorists, occupants of vehicles, etc.) to assess if the person is in compliance with the Stay-at-Home order.  This authority requires such individuals to provide the officer(s) with their home address and purpose for leaving their home.

The OPS will not be conducting random stops. We will be taking a deliberate and careful approach that emphasizes equity, legality, and efficacy in the application of these authorities with the specific and exclusive purpose to support public health measures.

Interprovincial Crossings: Effective Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:01 a.m, the government is also restricting travel into Ontario from the provinces of Manitoba and Quebec with the exception of purposes such as work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services or exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights. The OPS is working with its policing partners on operational plans at interprovincial bridges in the Ottawa area and more information will be available by Sunday evening.  

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CONTACT:

Media Relations Section

Tel: 613-236-1222, ext. 5366