RCMP role in enforcing the Federal Quarantine Act

The Covid Chronicle

**** RCMP Media Release

RCMP role in enforcing the Federal Quarantine Act

The RCMP has been asked for assistance in the coordination and enforcement of the March 25, 2020, Quarantine Act Order that, unless specifically exempted, any person entering Canada must isolate or quarantine (self-isolate) themselves for 14 days and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is now requesting that police agencies across Canada provide physical verification that individuals subject to the mandatory Order are complying with isolation and quarantine (self-isolation) requirements — in other words, that they are inside their homes following isolation orders. These checks will generally be limited to persons who, after PHAC has done initial verifications by phone, text or e-mail, may require a physical verification by police.

The RCMP’s law enforcement role in response to this Federal Order is limited to non-compliance that occurs within its policing jurisdiction. The RCMP is also playing a coordination role for all Canadian law enforcement by ensuring the appropriate police of jurisdiction is provided with the information required to conduct physical verification of compliance with the Order, including taking any enforcement actions deemed appropriate by the police of jurisdiction.

When enforcing the law in our jurisdictions, RCMP officers will use a risk-based, measured approach to non-compliance, focusing on education and encouragement. RCMP officers will attempt to conduct physical verification with the individual while maintaining physical distancing. Our officers will speak to the person, inform them of the law and explain the importance of compliance, as well as the potential consequences of non-compliance.

Violating or failing to comply with the Quarantine Act could have significant penalties, including fines and imprisonment. Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months for failure to comply with this Order. Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or to both.

Currently, individuals charged under the Quarantine Act can be issued a court appearance notice or summons, rather than being taken into custody.

Arrests would be a last resort, based on the circumstance and the officer’s risk assessment.

Taking a person into custody is not the preferred approach to enforcing isolation or quarantine (self-isolation), and may place officers and other persons at risk of exposure to the virus.

“Choosing to ignore mandatory isolation and quarantine orders is not only against the law, it’s also putting citizens, first responders, health professionals and the most vulnerable at risk of exposure to the virus. Collectively, everyone in Canada has a role to play to ensure compliance with isolation and physical distancing measures.”

Brenda Lucki, RCMP Commissioner

Learn more about the Government of Canada’s mandatory isolation and quarantine Order by visiting: www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html?topic=tilelink#f

Continue visiting Canada.ca/coronavirus for the most up-to-date information on Canada’s response.

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