Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of COVID-19 tickets issued

Windfall if tickets paid

As the COVID-19 global pandemic stretches into its second year in British Columbia, the province stands to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars thanks to pandemic-related fines.

The Ministry of Public Safety has released new information on fines that have been issued due to pandemic-related violations.

The latest data released by the province suggests B.C. will collect thousands of dollars from pandemic-related fines, but only if the alleged violators pay up.

The Province of British Columbia extended the provincial state of emergency on Tuesday, allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the Province's COVID-19 pandemic response. The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.'s health and emergency management officials and the original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.

Between Aug. 21, 2020, and Jan. 29, 2021, 806 violation tickets were issued, including:

  • 141 tickets worth $2,300 to owners or organizers contravening the PHO's order on gatherings
  • 28 worth $2,300 violation tickets for contravention of the PHO's Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order
  • 637 tickets worth $230 issued to individuals who refused to comply with direction from law enforcement.
  • Additionally, since the pandemic began, police agencies in British Columbia have issued 90 violation tickets to individuals who were in contravention of the Federal Quarantine Act, totalling $98,929.

"It's unbelievable that some people still refuse to put the safety of people and communities above their own selfish needs," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "The vast majority of British Columbians are doing the right thing, but there are some who continue to ignore the rules or bend them to suit their own purposes. We're all in this pandemic together, and the only way out of it is together. For those who still don't get that, we will continue to take measures to protect British Columbians from your actions."

CTV News Vancouver is reporting that as of January 30, 2020, bylaw officers and other enforcement agencies in B.C. report only 12 per cent of people who’ve been ticketed have paid the fine and fifty-two per cent have chosen to dispute the ticket in court.

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