Manitoba stepping up enforcement of public health orders
WINNIPEG -- The province of Manitoba announced new measures on Thursday to enforce public health measures.
Premier Brian Pallister announced the additional enforcement of public health orders, including health and safety officers under Workplace Health and Safety; inspectors under the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act; Manitoba Agriculture inspectors; and provincial park patrol officers, among others.The premier said he’s unsure about their ability to arrest, but they will have the power to fine.
He noted that these personnel will have authority beyond their regular scope of practice, such as fining people at a protest or a large group on a sidewalk.
“This is in addition to other agencies that are able to enforce these orders, including the RCMP, Winnipeg Police Service, Brandon Police Service, and other municipal police services, community safety officers, First Nation safety officers, and by-law enforcement officers,” Pallister said.
In all, the province will have more than 3,000 personnel who can enforce public health orders.
The premier noted the province also has hundreds of volunteers taking part in ‘Operation Safe Apart’, including people from Citizens on Patrol, Bear Clan, and the City of Winnipeg’s community safety ambassadors.
“These folks are out in the community educating Manitobans principally on staying safe in public and about physical distancing as well,” he said.
The premier said in the coming days the Help Next Door website and app will be updated to include a section for matching volunteers with local municipalities that need assistance in terms of enforcement and education. More information is available online.
Pallister said enforcement and education are especially important heading into a long weekend where the weather is expected to be nice.
“If you’ve got a campsite booked or you’re heading to the cabin this weekend, please make sure you limit any additional contacts,” he said.
“We’re urging you to be COVID careful in cottage country.”
The premier said people should gas up their vehicles close to home, make sure they have all their supplies, and stay home if you feel sick.
“This also applies to campgrounds and parks – limit your socializing, don’t gather in groups larger than 10 and avoid prolonged contact with campers that aren’t part of your smaller group,” Pallister said.
For any Manitobans who are planning to head to northwestern Ontario this weekend, the premier said we need to treat our friends and neighbours the way we’d like to be treated.
“That means keeping ourselves safe by helping to keep them safe,” he said, noting this means limiting interactions during the long weekend.
For anyone in Winnipeg who wants to make a report of non-compliance, they can contact 311 or email@example.com or to the city’s Twitter account. For those outside of Winnipeg, they can contact at the Manitoba government inquiry line at 204-945-3744 or toll-free at 1-866-626-4862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on tickets and establishment closures can be found online.
In a statement, Mayor Brian Bowman’s office said he “is pleased that the Premier confirmed today that provincial officials will enforce physical-distancing violations in public places within the City of Winnipeg.”
To date, Winnipeg police officers have issued three tickets regarding people not following public health orders.
They said as sworn peace officers in Manitoba, they have always had the legal authority to issue fines under the Provincial Health Act, but note their officers primarily give out offence notices under the Highway Traffic Act.
Officers urge Manitobans to call 311, not 911, over concerns regarding breaches of public health orders.
The city’s bylaw officers will continue to deal with enforcement in city parks and public spaces. Winnipeg police officers will help bylaw officers or city ambassadors if there are problems.
Police said they have received over 330 complaints regarding people not following public health orders.