social distancing canada

Provinces across Canada are imposing steep fines for not social distancing

With growing concerns that some Canadians may not be taking the order of social distancing as seriously as they need to in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, provincial governments are starting to invoke a firmer hand.

P.E.I. officials revealed earlier this week that residents may be fined up to $10,000 for not self-isolating for 14 days after recent international or domestic travel. (Saskatchewan has recently done the same, imposing fines up to $2,000.)

The island, which currently has three active cases of the communicable disease, is now enforcing new screening measures at its ports of entry.

Northwest Territories also secured its borders over last weekend, banning most incoming travel after it confirmed its first case of the communicable disease.

Meanwhile, non-essential businesses who don't abide by new rules to close their doors to the public to encourage social distancing now face fines of up to $7,500 in Nova Scotia, $50,000 in B.C. and $500,000 in both Ontario and Manitoba.

Individuals found gathering in groups will also risk being fined for non-compliance — $1,000 or more in Quebec, Nova Scotia, B.C. and Ontario. (It is worth noting that in provinces like Nova Scotia, "a group" is now considered as few as five people.)

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has directed members of the community to call the police if they see someone who is not following orders to self-isolate, and police across Canada have been given the green light to enforce social distancing directives from provincial and municipal governments. 

At least one Canadian, a resident of Quebec City, has already been arrested for not staying indoors as asked; police found the individual out and about in public on Friday after she had been diagnosed with the novel virus.

The federal government is also considering punishment for those who don't heed now-ubiquitous social distancing advice: Canadian Minister of Health Patty Hadju said at a recent press conference that if people continue to defy recommendations to stay home, "the advice will not be just advice."

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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