The Manitoba government will invest $2.5 million and grant public health enforcement powers to over 275 additional personnel to help protect Manitobans as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.
“We know the vast majority of Manitobans are doing their best to protect their loved ones, neighbours and community by following public health guidelines. However, there are some individuals who just aren’t listening,” said Pallister. “Our government is taking additional steps to increase enforcement to help keep Manitobans safe in these challenging times.”
Additional enforcement powers will be granted to provincial staff including motor carrier enforcement officers, fire safety inspectors and water resources officers. The province will also empower bylaw officers, including municipally contracted officers, to help enforce the public health orders. Over 275 additional personnel will be able to assist with enforcement of measures to protect the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we encouraged enforcement personnel to focus on educating the public. Now, we need to shift our efforts toward enforcement when necessary and start hitting the scofflaws where it hurts – in the wallet,” said the premier.
In all, more than 3,200 personnel across various enforcement agencies will be empowered to enforce public health orders including those previously empowered such as the RCMP, municipal police agencies, the Health Protection Unit, Manitoba Conservation and Climate, Workplace Safety and Health, and the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority.
Additional financial resources are being provided to assist municipalities where needed and to create training models for enforcement officials. The province has also created a partnership with Commissionaires Manitoba to create these training models to enhance the skills necessary to enforce the orders.
The Manitoba government will also reimburse municipalities for the equivalent value of any tickets written by municipal bylaw enforcement staff.
In addition to the increased enforcement personnel, the Manitoba government is enhancing its tip line for Manitobans to voice their concerns and share information about possible breaches of public health orders.
Manitobans can report compliance and enforcement issues by visiting www.manitoba.ca/COVID19 and completing the reporting form, or by calling 204-945-3744 or 1-866-626-4862 (toll-free) and pressing option three on the call menu.
These enhanced enforcement efforts build on recent measures to increase fines for breaching or failing to comply with public health or emergency orders. The fines $1,296 for individuals, up from $486 and $5,000 for corporations, an increase from $2,542.
Since April 9, there have been over 12,000 calls from citizens to report concerns. As of this week, approximately 160 tickets have been issued.
Current orders restrict gatherings and limit group sizes, set out the distance individuals are required to observe from another and require businesses to ensure their customers are able to maintain the required separation.
(Province of MB Release)