Ontario imposes ‘highest’ fines in country for those who break new COVID gathering limits
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TORONTO, Ontario, September 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Ontario Premier Doug Ford has imposed “severe fines” which will be the “highest in Canada” for those who break physical distancing health rules put in place due to the coronavirus.
In his daily media update on Thursday, Ford said that his government “will throw the book at you if you break the rules” with fines of “a minimum” of $10,000 for anyone who organizes “illegal” social gatherings and $750 for those who are at such an event.
Ontario currently limits social get-togethers of 50 people inside and 100 outside, but as of Friday, these limits will be lowered in Ottawa, Toronto, and the Peel Region to only 10 indoors and 25 outdoors.
The new restrictions apply to “social gatherings in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas. This includes: functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, barbecues, wedding receptions.”
“The new limits do not apply to events or gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities because they must already follow specific public health and safety guidelines to minimize risk and limit the spread of COVID-19. They include: bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres or banquet halls, gyms, recreational sporting or performing art events, religious services, rites or ceremonies,” the regulations states.
“There’s going to be some severe fines for people who want to ignore the regulations,” Ford said to reporters on Wednesday.
“They’re going to be the highest (fines) in the country and they’re going to be under provincial jurisdiction ... so we’ll make sure that there is follow-through.”
Ford said earlier in the week that he blames the rise in COVID-19 cases because of social gatherings, and not because of restaurants or bars being open.
Ford’s comments on Wednesday immediately drew condemnation from many in the province, such as Ontario’s Dr. Kulvinder Gill, who is disappointed in Ford’s new measures.
“What happened to following the science? Why are @[email protected] knowingly planning to impose further catastrophic, unscientific lockdowns based on meaningless PCR ‘cases’ data? Ample evidence globally—illogical lockdowns lead to immense collateral morbidity/mortality,” wrote Gill on Twitter.
Gill is the president and co-founder of Concerned Ontario Doctors. She has been a critical opponent of the lockdown measures and the need for a vaccine and recently said the “smears against Hydroxychloroquine” as an effective treatment for COVID-19 need to stop.
Recently, according to federal public health agency data, Canada reported zero deaths attributed to the coronavirus in a 24-hour period for the first time in six months.
While the data shows that positive COVID-19 cases have risen in the past few weeks, hospitalization rates, including ICU admissions, as well as deaths, have remained low in Ontario, with the province reporting 53 people in hospital because of COVID-19 and 21 of them in ICU, including 12 on ventilators.
Earlier in the week, Ford, who himself has been a vocal opponent of those fighting against the lockdown measures put in place in Ontario, said “We will take every step necessary including further shutdowns,” because of rising case counts of COVID-19.
Jim Karahalios, who was banned from running as a leadership candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada, took to Twitter to show his anger against Ford’s claim that social gatherings are to blame for the apparent rise in cases.
Concerned Ontario Doctors also voiced their disapproval and concern over Ford’s threat of new lockdowns and fines, calling them an “abuse of power.”
"Today Premier @fordnation encouraged your neighbours to snitch on you and call the police to have legal authorities come into your home to lay charges for not following his unscientific, illogical policies based on meaningless 'cases'.Let this sink in.THIS IS ABUSE OF POWER," wrote the group on Twitter Thursday.
In a video statement today, Independent MPP for Ontario Randy Hillier came out and said that restrictions put in place due to COVID-19 were not made based on facts, and that “No longer must we rely on predictions, models, and misinformation.”
“The evidence is clear and without a doubt, the probability of becoming sick or dying from COVID presents little risk to 99% of our population, and of those who may fall ill, 99% are expected to recover with little side effect,” said Hillier in his statement.
“Without debate or vote, we have embraced arbitrary rules, we have thrown away the rule of law, we have accepted unaccountable authority instead of representative government, we have empowered governments to deprive people of their businesses, employment, and livelihoods. Socialism is neither a cure nor a remedy for COVID.”
Dr. Harvey Risch, an epidemiologist at Yale School of Public Health, told LifeSiteNews earlier in the week that the only “solution” to COVID-19 is herd immunity, which is what Dr. Gill has advocated for, and that lockdowns “postpone the inevitable.”
He also said that Canada “should not replicate the Israeli experience” in terms of what Israel did to combat the coronavirus.
“The original (Israeli) lockdown achieved about no new cases for two weeks and yet a massive second wave occurred when the lockdown reopened because there was no understanding of the reservoir of asymptomatic infected people in the population,” Risch told LifeSiteNews.
Office of Ontario Premier Doug Ford
Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
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Ontario MPP Contact information page