Half of Canada's COVID-related fines handed down in Quebec, says civil liberties group
MONTREAL -- The COVID-19 pandemic has been costly for some Canadians, as 10,000 fines related to the crisis worth at total of $13 million were handed out by police, with most of those being given out in Quebec.
“Quebec has issued by far the most fines across the country,” said Abby Deshman of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. “Seventy-seven per cent of the fines we've identified have come from Quebec.”
The CCLA collected the data from police across the country and released it in a report on Wednesday. In the report, they found that not only did Quebecers receive the most fines, but that members of at-risk and vulnerable groups were the most likely to be ticketed.
“We know that when law enforcement are given very broad authority, that authority is used in ways that disproportionately impact already marginalized groups,” said Deshman.
Among the groups who received large amounts of COVID-related tickets are visible minorities, immigrants, the homeless and members of the LGBTQ community.
Deshman said the tactics taken by Quebec police forces are not effective when it comes to flattening the curve.
“On the contrary, it really gets in the way of a public health response,” she said. “When people need support, rather than punitive fines.”
Human rights lawyer Julius Grey said other policing tactics taken during the pandemic have him more worried.|
“What we've had during the pandemic is the imposition of all sorts of violations of privacy, following people, checking who you've been with, what you've been doing,” he said. “All of these things I think are reasonable, I think it would by okay during the pandemic to do that. But they might decide that this is the way to do social control forever.”