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COVID-19: Montreal, Quebec police can now directly fine physical distancing violators
Published Saturday, April 4, 2020 4:56PM EDT Last Updated Sunday, April 5, 2020 8:34AM EDT
MONTREAL -- Quebec provincial police and their Montreal counterparts are now able to immediately issue tickets to people who violate physical distancing regulations.
On Friday, Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions (DPCP) authorized the two police forces to issue abridged statements of offence, with expected fines of $1,000 for indoor and outdoor gatherings.
The DPCP said they would not rule out extending the authorization to other police forces in the province.
“Before allowing it we must make sure to put in place adequate logistics,” said spokesperson Jean Pascal Boucher. “It is available to the DPCP, it exists for other laws. We considered it opportune to act this way and make the decision now given the circumstances.”
Before Saturday, police who intervened at a gathering could issue a general offence report, which would then be transferred to investigators and then the DPCP, who could decide whether to issue a fine between $1,000 and $6,000.
Boucher said the general offence report may still be used by police, but at least for the Service de police de la Ville de Montreal (SPVM), abridged statements are recommended.
“It will greatly facilitate our work, it will reduce the administrative burden,” said SPVM spokesperson Andre Durocher. “The way we're going to operate now is the same as if you contravened a traffic by-law or broke a municipal by-law in a park.”
Durocher said the fact the statements of offence will be given directly to offenders will have “a very dissuasive effect.”