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Role of Police During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Enforcing emergency orders

Authorities granted to police

Under emergency orders, enhanced enforcement authorities have been granted to police. Our officers are responsible for responding to calls for service related to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act.

These authorities are enhanced or amended frequently. Ensure you understand the law by reading the latest orders on the province's website and reading our frequently asked questions below.

The four Es: Our focus during the provincewide shutdown

While York Regional Police has the authority to enforce the EMCPA, we are focused on these four Es, in order:

  • Engage with individuals who are not complying
  • Explain why police are responding
  • Educate individuals on the rules and regulations
  • Enforce as a last resort

Enforcement efforts will target individuals who overtly put others in danger in our community.

Frequently asked questions

Are York Regional Police officers pulling over vehicles to ask why someone is travelling?

Our officers will not be conducting random vehicle or individual stops for the purposes of checking on someone's reasons for travelling.

Are York Regional Police officers knocking on doors or entering houses to check if people are staying at home?

The police have no authority to enter a private dwelling unless authorized by law to do so. Police will not be randomly knocking on doors.

Police will not be checking whether individuals are in violation of orders, unless it is warranted. For example, police will investigate if they observe or respond to a public complaint about a gathering exceeding the limits imposed by the orders.

Is York Regional Police issuing tickets to people that are failing to comply with emergency orders?

Enforcement is a last resort. Most often, when our officers respond to a call and find individuals in violation, they have willingly complied after being educated. We expect this to remain the same moving forward and we thank those citizens who are doing their part. 

Our enforcement efforts are directed toward individuals who overtly put others in danger in our community. These individuals, or businesses, may be issued tickets if they are found to have committed an offence under the EMCPA or ROA, and will be subject to set fines.

Do I have to identify myself if a police officer asks?

Individuals have a duty to identify when a police officer has reasonable and probable grounds that an offence under the EMCPA or ROA has been committed. If you refuse to identify yourself in this case, you may be fined.

Can police disperse a crowd?

Yes, if police observe a gathering within a private premise, or of more than five people outdoors, police may ask people to leave. If people refuse to comply with orders or to verbally identify themselves, they may be fined.

Am I allowed to go outside to exercise, walk my dog, etc.?

The direction from Ontario's government, under the provincewide shutdown, is clear: Stay at home. 

That said, people may leave their residence for certain purposes, including exercise and walking pets. Ontario has provided a list of reasons someone can leave their home.

Do I have to show proof from my employer that I am an essential worker?

No, individuals do not need to show proof that they are an essential worker. However, if an officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe you are in violation of an act, you may be asked to verbally identify yourself. If you refuse to identify yourself in this case, you may be fined.

What should I do if I see groups of people gathering outdoors or in private residences in York Region? 

Outdoor gatherings must not exceed five people, while any indoor gatherings are in contravention of orders.

Weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies where physical distancing can be maintained and in compliance with rules on face coverings must be limited to 10 people.

You can report violations of orders to our non-emergency line at 1-866-876-5423.

How do I report a business that is open late, allowing indoor shopping, etc.?

If you believe a York Region business is failing to comply with emergency orders, please call our non-emergency line at 1-866-876-5423.

I believe a retailer is price gouging. How can I report this?

You can report price gouging online directly to the province using this online form

How do I report someone who should be self-isolating, but isn't? 

You can report that to our non-emergency line at 1-866-876-5423.

Is YRP still enforcing traffic violations?

Yes. COVID-19 doesn't change our mission to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. Everyone has the right to feel safe in York Region and we're going to continue to keep our roadways safe.

How is York Regional Police dealing with potential exposures to COVID-19?

York Regional Police procedures in place to deal with internal situations of occupational exposure to communicable diseases and these policies are reviewed regularly so that we can respond to specific challenges such as COVID-19.

Our members are subject to a thorough screening before the start of every shift and are trained to use personal protective equipment (PPE) in specific situations.