An Oak Bay man has been fined $1,150 in what is believed to be Vancouver Island’s first ticket for violating the terms of a quarantine.
Oak Bay police said they received a number of reports about the man, who is in his early 40s, claiming that he had failed to quarantine after an international trip.
Under the federal Quarantine Act, anyone entering Canada is required to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms.
The man had returned to Vancouver Island from another country, and although he was not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, did not quarantine as required, according to Sgt. Manny Montero.
The detachment received a complaint within a few days of the man’s return. An investigation took place “quite quickly” and was completed within the past week or so, Montero said. Oak Bay police have not received any further complaints about the man, he added.
Montero did not know why the man had been out of the country or where he had been. Though some travelers are exempt from the mandatory quarantine if they perform an essential job or function, the man did not meet the criteria, he said.
The detachment worked with the Canadian Border Services Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada on the file. Montero said the officer who worked on the case reached out to other jurisdictions, and discovered that only police departments on the Lower Mainland had written such tickets.
“This is the first one that I am aware of the Island,” he said. “Our officer determined that [the man] had breached his quarantine order, and we contacted the health authority to confirm the information.”
Montero said the Oak Bay man was fined $1,000, plus a 15 per cent victim surcharge. He called the man’s behaviour during the investigation, even after being handed a ticket for $1,150, disconcerting.
“It seems like there was a cavalier attitude about the fact that this person didn’t wish to comply,” he said. “Quite frankly, his attitude afterward seemed quite cavalier, as well.”
The Quarantine Act is meant to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases. Immediately after entering Canada, travellers are required to meet with a screening officer and disclose the location of their quarantine.
The Contraventions Act allows police to issue tickets to people who don’t comply with the Quarantine Act. Fines range from $275 to $1,000, depending on the seriousness of the offence.
More serious offences could lead to up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to $750,000. Those who break a mandatory quarantine or isolation, resulting in death or serious bodily harm to another person, could face a fine of up to $1 million and/or imprisonment of up to three years.
“If you are uncertain as to what your responsibilities are as a traveller, you can contact your local health authority for the most up-to-date information,” Montero said. “It is your responsibility to to ensure that you have the latest information.”