More than 1,500 charges laid in Toronto during stay-at-home order

Toronto police officers stop at a red light as they patrol on their service horses in Toronto on Thursday, April 2, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

More than 1,500 charges were laid in Toronto during the province’s six-week stay-at-home order, police say.

According to a news release issued by Toronto police on Thursday, at least 1,459 of those charges were laid under both the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and the Reopening Ontario Act.

The other 67 charges were criminal in nature, police said, and included assault and firearm offences.

“More than 1,500 charges have been laid by our teams, who have played a crucial role in supporting the province and Public Health by protecting the public from the further spread of COVID-19,” Interim Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said in a statement.

“Our officers responded to gatherings, parties and events on a daily basis, all driven by concerned members of the public. We want to say thank you to everyone who called – you helped us keep our city safe.”

The charges were laid by Toronto’s 16 police enforcement teams created to enforce Ontario’s stay-at-home order, which went into effect on April 8 and was lifted on June 2.

Toronto police previously said the teams largely focused on responding to complaints regarding large indoor events that were being held in short-term rentals and in closed bars and restaurants.

Although the stay-at-home order has been lifted, police warn that other restrictions remain in place. This includes a five-person limit on outdoor gatherings, a ban on indoor gatherings, and the closure of restaurants and bars with the exception of take out.

“Officers, where appropriate, will continue to enforce the restrictions in place and respond to large gathering calls,” Ramer said.

“Anyone thinking of attending an event or meeting up in large groups, it is not worth it. Not only are you putting yourself and others at risk but you could also face a fine of $750.”

Event organizers, meanwhile, can be fined up to $10,000.