As promised, B.C. is stepping up its enforcement of COVID-19 health orders – leaning on ICBC and WorkSafe BC to increase prevention of transmission and quickly reprimanding those guilty of breaking the rules.
Earlier this week, Premier John Horgan said a disturbing increase in COVID-related deaths and surges in cases means that more action must be taken to ensure compliance heading into the holiday season.
“This is serious, this is not a lark, this is not something we do lightly,” Horgan said. “Those of us who do not want to obey the rules that the rest of us are following will have to pay the consequences.”
In a statement Wednesday (Dec. 16), Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced that he’s asked gaming investigators, conservation officers, community safety unit inspectors and liquor and cannabis inspectors to actively support police in enforcing ongoing health orders.
To better hold offenders accountable for paying their provincial COVID-19 violation ticket fines, Farnworth has also directed ICBC, which collects ticket fines on behalf of government, to send deemed-guilty offenders to collections after the dispute period passes.
Currently, payment reminders may be sent to guilty offenders for up to a year before the overdue account is sent to collections but moving forward ICBC will now eliminate this reminder period and instead send unpaid files directly to collections as soon as the initial 30-day payment or dispute period ends, or when an offender is found guilty in court.
The province has also requested WorkSafe BC increase in-person inspections at workplaces, particularly where contract tracing data shows transmission of the novel coronavirus is happening.
Since Aug. 21, to Dec. 14, an estimated 290 violation tickets were issued, including:
- 45 tickets for $2,300 to owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s order on gatherings and events
- 21 tickets for $2,300 for contravention of the Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order
- 224 tickets for $230 issued to individuals who refused to comply with direction from law enforcement
Current health orders banning all social gatherings indoors and outdoors is set to expire on Jan. 8, 2021.
– with files from Tom Fletcher
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