PCs planned to shutdown Ontario Legislature on Wednesday, NDP says

Joanna Estrada
April 19, 2021

The Ontario government announced tough new restrictions Friday in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases, including giving police the power to stop and question people where they live and why they're not home.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says officers will no longer have the right to stop any pedestrian or vehicle to ask why they are out or request their home address.

On Friday (April 16), the provincial government announced it was giving police officers and other provincial offences officers enhanced authority to require any person to provide their home address and objective for not being at their residence, and to stop vehicles to inquire about a person's reasons for leaving their home.

Our regulations will be amended to allow playgrounds but gatherings outside will still be enforced.

Ford notes police officers and by-law officers will be given special authorities to enforce Ontario's stay-at-home orders.

However, several police services across the province have since released statements to that effect that they will not be making use of these new powers.

P.E.I. public health officials have also reached out to UPEI and Holland College to ask them to share information with health-care graduates who may be interested in going to Ontario to help.

Many other police forces in Ontario say they will not stop motorists or people at random to enforce COVID-19 rules, but they will act on complaints or obvious violations.

Decision comes hours after Health Minister Patty Hajdu said there's no reason the vaccine can't be given to anyone 18 and older.

Peel Regional Police also released a statement saying officers will not be doing random vehicle stops. "The (department) will NOT be randomly stopping vehicles for no reason during the pandemic or afterwards", Halton Police Chief Steve Tanner tweeted.

Earlier on Friday, the Ontario Science Table, which includes the province's scientific and health experts, said vaccinations are not reaching people at high-risk fast enough to prevent the risky impact on Ontario communities and hospitals.

All non-essential construction projects are being halted, along with outdoor leisure activities, such as golf, tennis and basketball.

On Friday, Ontario announced it was tightening and extending its lockdown orders to curb the pandemic, including closing its inter-provincial borders to non-essential travel.

Grocery stores and similar retail settings that permit in-store shopping will be limited to 25% capacity, likely to bring a return of last spring's lengthy lineups.

Construction for homes, hospitals, assessment centres and longterm care homes is permitted with COVID-19 safety precautions.

But experts said Ford had missed the mark on key drivers of the pandemic, including a lack of paid sick leave for essential workers and dearth of evidence playgrounds have been a transmission source.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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