Northern police join list of departments refusing to enforce shut down orders with random stops

Police services in at least three northern Ontario cities will not be conducting random stops to determine why people are outside their residence during the stay-at-home order.  An authority afforded to them by the Ontario government as part of the new stay-at-home measures issued yesterday.

The announcement of new #COVID19 provincial enforcement measures have generated many questions in our community.

As we review the new provincial regulations, please note that #NorthBay Police will NOT be conducting random vehicle or individual stops.

— North Bay Police (@NorthBayPolice) April 17, 2021

Law enforcement officials in Sudbury, North Bay, and Sault Ste. Marie have all published statements confirming that officers in their jurisdictions will not be enforcing the shutdown orders with random stops.

"We will not be conducting random person or vehicle stops for the sole purpose of determining where you are going or why you are out of your residence," said the Greater Sudbury Police Service in a message to the community posted on its website.

A Message to Our Community - Stay-at-Home Order Authorities. We thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation throughout the pandemic. We will continue to rely on the 4E's of Engage, Explain, Educate and where appropriate Enforce. Read more

— Sudbury Police (@SudburyPolice) April 17, 2021

Sault mayor Christian Provenzano endorsed the decision made by city police in a tweet issued Saturday morning.

I support @SaultPolice position and trust it will continue to do what it can to keep @CitySSM safe during this challenging time.

— Mayor Provenzano (@MayorProvenzano) April 17, 2021

The northern police services join a growing number of other departments from across the province who condemned the random stops including Toronto, Peel, Ottawa, Niagara, and the Kawarthas.

The Ford government granted the authority to law enforcement officials on April 17 as part of the effort to slow the COVID-19 surge that has now reached critical levels in Ontario. 

The new measures would require people to provide their home address and purpose for being outside their residence.  Police have also been given the authority to stop vehicles to inquire about an individual’s reason for leaving their residence. 

In addition, provincial offences officers will be visiting over 500 businesses across Ottawa, Toronto, and the York region including big-box stores, food processors, manufacturers and warehouses.

This is a developing story.  Check back often for updates.