City of Calgary update on collaborative COVID-19 enforcement measures

City of Calgary Community Peace Officers and the Calgary Police Service (CPS) continue to work together, along with Alberta Health Services (AHS), to ensure enforcement of all bylaws and public health orders.

The Temporary COVID-19 Face Coverings Bylaw came into effect August 1, 2020. On December 11, 2020 Calgary City Council extended the temporary bylaw through December 2021 and increased penalties for failure to wear a face covering and for repeat violations within a 12-month period.

On May 10, 2021 Council voted to pass an amendment to the Temporary COVID-19 Face Coverings Bylaw to increase the violation penalty for failure to wear a face covering where required, from $100 to $500 for a first offence. The bylaw amendment received two readings and is expected to receive the third reading of the bylaw at the Combined Meeting of Council on May 31, 2021, when the fine increase will go into effect.

Enforcement of the temporary bylaw has resulted in:

  •  411 violation tickets for failure to wear a face covering where required since August 1, 2020
    • Of those, 20 violation tickets have been issued since May 6, 2021.
  • One ticket has been issued for failure to display prescribed signage in an entryway of a public indoor space. This is the only ticket issued of this nature since August 18, 2020.

The total number of tickets issued under the Public Health Act (PHA) since the State of Local Emergency was declared is:

  • 213 violation tickets since November 24, 2020
    • Of those, none of the violation tickets were issued since May 6, 2021.

While no PHA tickets were issued by The City of Calgary over the first weekend of the new public health order measures going into effect, a number of corrective actions were taken. CPS served four people and made two arrests in relation to breaches of the Court of Queen’s Bench Order obtained by AHS. The order states that all COVID-19 public health measures must be followed for gatherings including protests, demonstrations, rallies and illegal indoor events. It also contains an enforcement clause that once served, gives police the powers to arrest organizers and promotors of events that do not meet the health orders.

Additionally, one bylaw violation ticket was issued during an inspection, as a result of a business operating in violation of a closure order that was issued by Alberta Health Services.

Protests and demonstrations

Some demonstrators have adjusted their approach to protests, limiting physical contact by using vehicles to demonstrate. While The City of Calgary is encouraged by some groups choosing an approach that adheres to current public health orders, they must also ensure all laws are adhered to. For anyone planning to engage in vehicle-based mobile rallies or protests, we urge organizers to stress the importance of obeying all traffic laws and to conduct themselves with public safety as a priority.

To limit traffic disruption, as well as the risk of collisions and other traffic safety issues, CPS asks organizers to cooperate with members of the Major Events and Emergency Management Section (MEEMS) to establish a route and traffic safety plan.

City business licence inspectors, peace officers and partners from AHS, CPS, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis and Occupational Health and Safety have formed a Public Health Compliance (PHC) Team to monitor compliance, address concerns and support measures that help protect Calgarians. This team will continue to conduct proactive inspections and respond to concerns jointly, to ensure businesses are following public health orders.

Any non-essential business found operating in contravention of the PHA could face multiple fines and the possibility of suspension or revocation of their business licence coupled with the charges.

The City of Calgary understands the impact and tough circumstances faced by a number of businesses that are closed or have altered their services, balanced with the critical need to enforce continued adherence to the public health orders. We would like to thank citizens and businesses for their continued adherence to public health orders and for playing an important role in the health and safety of all Calgarians.Where violations are suspected, Calgarians or businesses can submit questions, concerns or report complaints to Alberta Health Services online or by calling 1-833-415-9179, or to The City by contacting 311 or the CPS non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.

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