Ontario police can now demand ID from children to enforce COVID rules
April 23, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Police in the Canadian province of Ontario can now demand identification from children if he or she is deemed to be taking part in public gatherings banned due to new COVID rules.
After Peel Regional Police were tasked with investigating a recent incident involving a 12-year-old boy, the new police directives were issued. The boy (video of which has since gone viral) was pushed to the ground by a member of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) for not wearing a mask in a skate park in Gravenhurst this past weekend.
According to Const. Danny Marttini with the Peel Regional Police, asking kids for ID “is in regards to gatherings or social groups that are coming together” in violation of Ontario lockdown rules.
“If (police) see something like that going on, in which case they would ask to identify all parties that are participating,” said Marttini, according to the National Post. “Generally speaking, the idea is to treat everybody the same that will engage, explain what should be going on, and then hopefully educate and then that should take care of it.”
Peel Regional Police said its officers are not allowed to ID kids under the age of 12. However, the practice of “carding” kids comes despite the fact that in Ontario, one must be at least 16 years of age to qualify to obtain a provincial photo identification card.
LifeSiteNews contacted Peel Regional Police to ask how it plans on demanding ID from kids aged 12 to 15, despite the fact that those in that age group cannot obtain official government ID. As of press time, there has been no reply.
Ontario’s solicitor-general Sylvia Jones said in statement that police have been given the power to “obtain information from individuals including youth involved in a social gathering to determine if they are complying with the restrictions on social gatherings.”
However, according to Steps to Justice, an Ontario organization which helps those with legal issues in the province, when it comes to the practice of “carding” or “street checks,” one can refuse to produce ID, so long as they are not driving a car or riding a bike.
“In most cases, if the police stop you on the street, you do not have to show the police your ID or answer any questions,” says Steps to Justice on its website. “The police must have a good reason to ask for your ID. They are not allowed to ask for your ID: because of your race, because you are in a high-crime area, because you refused to answer a question or walked away, to meet a target for how many IDs they want to collect. If you decide not to give the police your ID or tell them who you are, they can’t stop you from leaving.”
Steps to Justice says that a “street check does not have to be for a specific crime, it can be for general criminal activity,” but police have to follow “certain rules when they do a street check.”
The Gravenhurst skate park was closed under enhanced “stay at home orders” introduced by Ontario Premier Doug Ford a week ago.
As part of new measures introduced last week, the Ford government extended a stay-at-home order, placed a 10-person limit on church service attendance size, closed playgrounds, implemented provincial border checks, and gave police the power to stop anyone for any reason, if they were outside their home, without cause.
After public backlash, the Ford government walked back some of its coronavirus rules less than a day later. Playgrounds were allowed to stay open, and police must have “reason to suspect that you are participating in an organized public event or social gathering” in order to question people.
The backtracking of some of the rules came about after dozens of local police forces in Ontario, in multiple statements, said they would not be conducting random stops and searches of people just because they had left their homes.