Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

SPECTRE OF FINES, JAIL TIME UNVEILED – Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee (far right) explains the government’s rules enforcement plans during Thursday afternoon’s news conference while Community Services Minister John Streicker listens.

New COVID-19 laws won’t mean more patrols, arrests: RCMP

Dr. Brendan Hanley’s directions to stop the spread of COVID-19 are now enforceable by law, and people failing to comply are subject to fines and imprisonment.

By Gabrielle Plonka on April 3, 2020

Dr. Brendan Hanley’s directions to stop the spread of COVID-19 are now enforceable by law, and people failing to comply are subject to fines and imprisonment.

“The orders issued today represent another tool to deal with and manage this rapidly evolving situation,” Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said Thursday afternoon.

The government made an emergency declaration under the Civil Emergency Measures Act earlier this week.

Under it, an enforcement order and health protection order were signed Thursday by John Streicker, the minister of Community Services.

“Our medical system could quickly become overwhelmed if community spread of COVID occurred here,” Streicker said. “We’re taking strong steps to keep our community safe.”

The enforcement order writes the following measures into law, with offences subject to a $500 fine:

• individuals returning to the territory must immediately self-isolate for 14 days, with some exceptions for critical service providers;

• individuals working in the mining industry must self-isolate in place other than mine or camp;

• individuals arriving in the Yukon must provide a declaration of their name, address, phone number and destination, and behave in a way that is consistent with that declaration;

• individuals must follow advice of the chief medical officer of health;

• individuals must not gather socially in groups of more than 10 persons;

• individuals must not eat nor drink in restaurants that have opened for take-out only;

• bars must close;

• no dentistry except in emergency; and

• personal service establishments must close.

“These are not suggestions, these are not guidelines. These are the law,” McPhee said.

“We ask Yukoners to be vigilant with their own behaviour and reminding their friends and family to abide by these new laws.”

McPhee said that there will soon be the opportunity for individuals to report infractions to the authorities.

The enforcement order stands until June 25, unless the Civil Emergency Measures Act is extended beyond the prescribed 90 days. Tickets and charges of up to $500 can be issued, with potential jail time for non-compliance.

Among these offences are new rules for self-declaration upon entering the territory.

The Yukon government is establishing checkpoints at the borders and airports. Travellers who enter the territory will be required to submit a declaration of name, address and phone number.

Enforcement officers will use this information to check in with travellers to ensure that 14 days of self-isolation are being observed.

Non-residents travelling through the Yukon have 24 hours to pass through, assuming they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

Travellers must follow directions given by an enforcement officer regarding routes and establishments they may enter. 

“We need to be respectful that some people will be going home to Alaska or the Northwest Territories,” Streicker said. “Just as we hope B.C. will be respectful of Yukoners travelling home.”

Enforcement officials at the border will allow passage for travellers returning home or conducting other essential travel.

“If it’s unwanted travel, sorry, you’re not welcome,” Streicker said.

There are some exceptions to the self-isolation law for critical workers, who provide the services required to preserve life, health and basic societal functioning –– health care, food, water, medicine, emergency services, electricity, transportation and government.

A full list of critical workers is available on yukon.ca. Critical service workers are subject to a list of safety guidelines if they are unable to self-isolate in their position, including self-monitoring, daily temperature-taking and isolation when not at work.

Critical service workers can return to work without 14 days of self-isolation only if an alternate worker is not available to provide the service.

Citizens of Atlin, Lower Post, Fraser, Jade City, Fireside or Pleasant Camp are also exempt from 14 days of self-isolation, provided they have not travelled outside of the Yukon or their community in the previous 14 days.

Streicker said these community members will be treated as Yukoners when crossing the border, because they rely on Whitehorse for food and medicine.

Enforcement officers will be appointed to implement the new laws from the Yukon’s pool of conservation officers, sheriffs, liquor inspectors and First Nation land officers.

RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard told the Star today that officers won’t be enlisted as emergency act enforcement officers for the time being.

“I’ve been in contact with Dr. Hanley and he knows very well that the RCMP stands ready to assist in any way we can,” Sheppard said.

“I don’t think the expectation, at this point, is for the RCMP to take eyes off issues of a criminal nature.”

Sheppard said that just because these rules are now law, doesn’t mean the Yukon is becoming a police state.

“I know when people hear these certain powers have been drawn down upon by government, there’s this feeling that police will be patrolling the streets and arresting people,” Sheppard said.

“That’s really not the case, and that’s not really helpful…. I don’t know if you’re going to see a lot of enforcement activity to begin with.”

While the RCMP carry out traditional roles and responsibilities, enforcement officers will be appointed with duties that boil down to communication and education. Sheppard noted that the role of enforcement officers will primarily be educating Yukoners on rules for self-isolation and physical distancing.

Enforcement officers will also ensure that Yukoners don’t become complacent, though Sheppard said Yukoners seem to be following the rules thus far.

More intense enforcement may become necessary in the future, as Sheppard noted things are changing quickly.

“I think the government is being very prudent in terms of preparing for any possible future needs we might have,” Sheppard said.

“There is a number of tools in the toolbox, and this is going to be another tool if we need it.

“Right now, what we need are a pair of tweezers or a screwdriver. The enforcement is the hammer, and we are nowhere near that phase right now, but it’s important we’re in place ... to inform the public that there will be consequences.”

Sheppard said the Yukon’s RCMP are fully staffed and will not require additional federal resources. Supplementary resources have been deployed in the Yukon’s communities.

After today’s Star deadline for the Nation section, Ontario health officials reported the virus could claim between 3,000 and 15,000 lives there over the next 18 months to two years. Without the preventive measures already taken, the death toll could have approached 100,000, they believe.

See related stories, commentaries and letters.

Comments (23)

Up 6 Down 3

rocktheboat on Apr 8, 2020 at 12:25 pm

Bandit: Update on the Skagway border. People in Skagway own property in Carcross. The border guards are not on duty 24/7 - people cross at night. Stay over in Carcross and shop, and then go back. As witnessed by Carcross people who know who they are.

Up 7 Down 4

rocktheboat on Apr 7, 2020 at 8:37 am

Reply to Bandit "Enforcement officers at the border will allow passage for travelers returning or conducting other essential travel." I simply said I don't consider grocery shopping to be essential. On the other hand eye witness accounts from Tagish and Carcross tell another story. So you believe everything you read and everything you misread. Read my previous post again and try to detect if I am actually saying this is the case.

Up 30 Down 16

Guncache on Apr 6, 2020 at 5:48 pm

An opportunity for individuals to report infractions. I won't be part of the police state. That is what Trudeau would like and our fearless Yukon leader will be standing beside the little potato.

Up 5 Down 18

Dentist on Apr 6, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Does this mean that people from other parts of Canada who were planning on visiting the Territory this spring and early summer won't be able to? Need a yes or no answer on this if possible. Thanks.

Up 17 Down 4

Bandit on Apr 6, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Please read the article again and amend your post. There is no mention in that article of Skagway, Ak. I believe our CBSA officers would turn anyone around arriving at that Border Crossing for non-essential travel.

Up 29 Down 10

rocktheboat on Apr 6, 2020 at 9:27 am

I don't consider people from Skagway crossing the border to buy groceries in Yukon essential. And as for Miles Epanhauser claiming he wants to be deliberately infected, and this happens, it's a criminal offence.

Up 15 Down 51

Douglas Martens on Apr 5, 2020 at 7:00 pm

John Streiker telling visitors they are not welcome, just before the summer season, killing our wonderful tourism industry completely, possibly forever. Thanks John!

Up 15 Down 15

Bingo on Apr 5, 2020 at 4:26 pm

@Joe...so nobody is allowed to go outside? That is totally unhealthy. NYC Dr on the front line basically said three things for your entertainment 1- wash your hands...2- don’t touch your face and 3- do not be around an affected person for a sustained amount of time ie; 30 minutes. If you abide by that you will be fine. So let people be out and about.

Up 14 Down 44

Miles Epanhauser on Apr 5, 2020 at 1:07 pm

Is it true you can have the virus, recover and still spread it?
If not, let me know who has it because I want to be infected and move on.
I want to face the essential facts of the illness and see if I cannot learn what it has to teach. This isolation is for Millennials and people who are too fearful.
Let's protect the vulnerable, the elderly and marginalized and start to move on.

Up 33 Down 32

Joe on Apr 5, 2020 at 11:29 am

I saw a dozen vehicles heading south from Carcross, YT to Fraser, BC this morning within less than half an hour. Once they get down to BC they will all be parked together in a big group to ski and skidoo. Why isn’t the RCMP cracking down on these people? They are all failing to physical distance and also failing to self-isolate on return to the Yukon. This isn’t a vacation.

Up 27 Down 32

Josey Wales on Apr 4, 2020 at 9:29 pm

Starting to resemble Poland say circa early winter 1939 or Margrets Cuba, around these parts as of late?
I have a whole bunch to say on the absolute LUNACY that is YLP/LPC leadership, but 80% would get trashed via moderation.
So in summary, just because some state actors gave other state actors jackboots...doesn’t mean the “enforcers” will wear them.

More folks have been murdered by pisstanks and B.O.L.E. than all viruses up here in the last ten years.
Whilst virtually ALL state actors sat on their effin hands.

What a absolutely disgusting political mess this FAILED experiment I used to call my home proudly NOW is!!!!!!
To think we came from a country of fighters in the Great War, WW2, Korea and now the sandbox full of sh*t?

To have a weak and feeble PM, and his group of nobility and sycophants toss our freedoms away to appease the basic dictatorship Justine admires
(On the record even) of CHINA where this CHINA virus came from.
I suggest those young brave men that did their part, chased toxic ideologies all over the globe to CRUSH it...to have political blowholes and political correctness flush it into the UN/WHO sewer.
Makes me absolutely sick to my nationalist stomach.

Was in town today, seen the usual crews getting wasted not caring remotely the very things we are ORDERED to comply with.
Good thing they are not going to use the law, that just was introduced.
So things for our crew downtown, same ol same ol.

Again...everyone else must...just not they.
Remember folks...diversity is our strength, chant along whilst chugging the Kool-Aid.
Never underestimate a civic political blowhole, sound familiar at all?
Gee a few short years back, the very man that shut our territory down, bought the jackboots (metaphorically) for his officers in arms...was a mere civic blowhole.

We have a new crew of civic liberals now, some commi lite...both infected with Marxist fantasies.
I ask y’all now, are you paying attention yet?

YLP/LPC going to link up a rail line now too?
Be more efficient to haul us off for delousing and hot shower and reprogramming , if some hundreds of cattle cars are shuttled up here. Not to mention the reduced carbon footprint so many boxcars full of subjects would create.
...or we could march, like they did to the gulags?
Ahhh the gulags, where everyone is equal, a progressive utopia of complete inclusion and state control...the good ol days soon to resurface.
What a freaking mess Justin, your alleged daddy would be so proud of finishing his quest of divide and conquer.

...and national destruction, via state actors, the often brain dead fools they are.

Up 17 Down 25

JC on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:43 pm

Max, wait till they issue these law enforcement officers with side arms. That has to come. You can take that to the bank.

Up 26 Down 26

JC on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Ken Smith. The truth is, the borders are not fully closed. Illegal- oops - irregular immigrants are still flocking through the border holes aka Roxham Rd. Que. To get through, all they have to say is "immigrant" and they can come in. Notice the left wing media CBC etc., never revealed that to Canadians. Just another JT deception. It's just a Liberal program to get votes. And don't expect to ever see another Federal conservative government in Canada. They're past the point of no return.

Up 36 Down 25

JC on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:30 pm

Jonathan: I'm approaching 80 and I have seen a lot of negative changes in Canada. I also learned that once the status quo has been set, it doesn't change. The rules being laid down for this pandemic will not go away after its gone. Rules of restriction will become the status quo when the governments see it worked for the Virus. Believe me, life will not be the same after this. We have a very left wing governments, and they were waiting for this emergency for a long time. And remember their pet project, Climate Change. That left wing hoax is still on their agenda.

Up 38 Down 52

Max Mack on Apr 3, 2020 at 8:23 pm

What Streicker and McPhee are imposing is de facto a police state.
Guard posts at entry points into the Yukon?
A snitch line?
Outsiders are not welcome?

Enforcement by "conservation officers, sheriffs, liquor inspectors and First Nation land officers." So, wanna-be cops with a need to prove their mettle will be handing out tickets? That should work out well.
Shades of Nazi Germany. All for an epidemic that does not exist.

Up 41 Down 11

Ken Smith on Apr 3, 2020 at 8:22 pm

I agree totally with the previous comments. It would apprear the that the Yukon Government and our Medical Chief Medical officer are always three steps behind what is known about the steps required to stop the spread of this deadly virus.

Try leading rather than following and stop sugar coating every new restiction put in place.
Where will the check points be established? Will they be operational 24 hours a day?

If the Canadian/US boarder is truly closed, why are we allowing non essential road travel by US residents through Canada /BC/ Yukon. These individuals could fly directly from US airports.

Up 28 Down 3

Here's a good link, reliable source on Apr 3, 2020 at 7:01 pm

Having the virus in one's system after recovery doesn't necessarily mean a person is contagious. At any rate, we should all assume that the virus is around us, and continue to wash our hands, keep our distance

Up 24 Down 23

Mike on Apr 3, 2020 at 6:19 pm

Now that's taking control it's about time and anyone not liking it has not lived here long enough to know that when Yukoners face tragedy we face it head on and together. Everyone will lose something absolutely but not your life and tha'ts all that matters. Hunker down, think hygiene and follow the rules and we may turn out being a role model of Canadians who actually care enough about the other. Thumbs up Silver.

Up 32 Down 29

Jonathan Colby on Apr 3, 2020 at 6:01 pm

Cops promising that they won't use new powers to detain and harass already marginalized people?
History teaches us to believe it when we see it.

Up 21 Down 5

Miles Epanhauser on Apr 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Lots of coughing and hacking going even from cashiers so I hope this does not go sideways in Yukon.

Up 28 Down 7

JC on Apr 3, 2020 at 4:53 pm

Well, folks, get ready to hermitize for the next 2 years. Can't wait for the future domestic violence reports to come out. And city businesses better get security cameras installed. The criminal trash will be out and about. You can take that to the bank. Everybody will know what "cabin fever" is.

Up 23 Down 56

Matthew on Apr 3, 2020 at 3:53 pm

Insane.. the death rate of Covid is not even 10%! It's not even 1%! It's a very, very tiny 0.1%! This is fear mongering at its finest!

Up 38 Down 19

royalbash on Apr 3, 2020 at 3:23 pm

There's a problem. The latest information is that the virus can spread by people who have the virus, but show no symptoms. And people who have recovered from the virus can continue to spread the virus. So when the quarantine is over for people who have recovered, they are going to spread the virus. So it appears the Yukon medical team is behind in the latest updates available on CBC.CA.
What we have here is a failure to communicate. Still no word on the closure of camp grounds. The European returnee was shedding the virus from Europe to Whitehorse is going to spreading when he recovers and gets out of quarantine. Same with the Bethany chapel, and Elias dental carriers. We need a strategy to contain any virus victim until we find out how long it takes for the virus to be neutralized once a person has been infected, and how to detect a virus infected person showing no symptoms. The second would have to include a lock down on any person entering the Territory not a supplier of essential goods.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.