Guelph police not conducting random stops, clarify role in provincial guideline enforcement

In the wake of new COVID-19 pandemic restrictions announced by the province, but before the announced rollback of these guidelines, Guelph police joined many other police forces across Ontario who don’t plan on conducting random vehicle or person stops.

Among the enhanced restrictions and extended stay-at-home order announced by the Ford government on Friday, the province said police officers temporarily have the power to enforce the order and legally stop people on the street and in vehicles to ask their reason for leaving their home.

On Friday night, Guelph police issued a news release saying they do not intend to conduct random vehicle or person stops.

“As a service, we are encouraged that the vast majority in our community have taken COVID restrictions seriously,” the release reads in part. “We recognize it has not been easy and sincerely appreciate the community’s willingness and desire to work together.”

Guelph police add that they will be providing further updates on the impact of their responsibilities from the enhanced measures as information becomes available.

Guelph joins police forces in Toronto, Waterloo Region, London, Windsor, Barrie, and Northern Ontario among others across the province, who say they will not randomly stop people and vehicles.

On Saturday, the province announced they would be walking back new pandemic police powers following widespread backlash.

Guelph police then issued a join release with the city and the public health unit on Sunday reclarifying that they would not do the random stops, but they will charge or fine people not following the provincial regulations or public health guidelines.

They add that most people have been following the guidelines and that there is no requirement for anyone to be home at a certain time of day.

According to officials, police have the authority to disperse gatherings of people who do not live together, issue fines and charges relating to gatherings as well as not wearing face coverings in proper settings, and to ask information of someone if they suspect they are taking part in a prohibited gathering.