Montreal evening-shift workers slapped with curfew fines despite authorization letters

Four days into Quebec's first curfew in decades, some snags in the system are appearing.

Employees who finished a late shift at a Marché Good Food online meal-kit factory in St. Laurent, just northwest of Montreal, got tickets for breaking curfew on Monday night even though they had the required authorization letter from their employer.

A source, who didn't wish to be identified, said the workers had just gotten off the evening shift and were waiting at the bus stop just after 8 p.m. when police ticketed them for being out after curfew.

Marché Good Food confirmed that the company was made aware of the incident and that three of its employees were issued tickets "even though they presented their essential worker letter" to the officer. 

"We have reached out to the employees and are gathering further information to better understand what happened and what next steps will be," said Roslane Aouameur of Marché Good Food.

Lawyer Avi Levy with the Montreal company Ticket911 -- which usually specializes in contesting traffic tickets -- said several people have been calling recently about curfew rules, including a few who have gotten tickets.

"If you have a valid reason for being out past the curfew, then you should not be ticketed," said Levy. In the Good Food case, "this gentleman seems to have a valid reason, seems to have a letter on top of it all, which is a little surprising."

Levy said the cases the company is handling so far include people who got delayed, and inadvertantly violated curfew, but not in bad faith -- including a man who got stuck in traffic on his way back home from Ontario after caring for a parent.

"The majority of people seem to be out for a legitimate reason and sort of get caught by this curfew, either because time got away from them or they couldn't get to where they needed to be in time," said Levy.

Montreal police said they can't comment on specific cases but that officers always use discretion and make the necessary checks before handing out tickets or offence reports. They added that people have to justify being out during curfew. 

LISTEN: Are the police appropriately handling the curfew? CJAD 800 Radio analyst Tom Mulcair poses the question:
 

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