Peterborough Public Health has provided guidance on how area residents should report complaints or concerns related to COVID-19 compliance, while it awaits clarification from the federal government on how police and public health officials should be enforcing the mandatory 14-day self-isolation requirement of people returning from travel outside of Canada.
Last Wednesday (March 25), the federal government established an emergency order under the Quarantine Act that applies to all travellers arriving in Canada, requiring returning travellers to self-isolate for 14 days — whether they are showing symptoms or not.
While violations against the Quarantine Act could lead to up to six months in prison and/or up to $750,000 in fines, it’s not yet clear how this emergency order should be enforced.
The Quarantine Act gives authority to a quarantine officer who identifies returning travellers at a point of entry, who are either allowed to self-isolate at home or sequestered in a federally designated quarantine facility (such as the military base in Trenton, where travellers from COVID-19 hot spots were quarantined earlier this year).
While these quarantine officers are required to share the list of travellers who need to self-isolate with local public health agencies, Peterborough Public Health says it is not yet clear whether local police or public health units are responsible for enforcing compliance.
Complicating matters is the fact that the emergency order under the Quarantine Act only applies to travellers returning to Canada after March 25th. While all returning travellers are urged to comply with the 14-day self-isolation order, it is not mandatory for those who returned prior to March 25th.
Until the federal government clarifies how enforcement will be handled, Peterborough Public Health is relying on education to encourage compliance with the Quarantine Act order. The health unit has made available on its website a fact sheet for returning travellers with no symptoms.
People who call Peterborough Public Health to report concerns about returning travellers will be provided with information and guidance only, as there’s no mechanism currently in place to identify those people who have been directed to self-isolate because of a travel history.
There is also a series of emergency orders made under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act mandating the closure of non-essential workplaces, prohibiting organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, and more.
The health unit says it will share additional details about the enforcement of federal and provincial order once they become available. In the interim, the health unit has created a Reporting Complaints web page to clarify how Peterborough-area residents should report concerns.
This information is summarized below.
Who to call
- For concerns about travellers who are not self-isolating after returning from travel outside Canada on or after March 25th, call the Peterborough Police Service non-emergency line at 705-876-1122 or the Ontario Provincial Police non-emergency line at 1-888-310-1122. Do not call 911.
- For concerns about travellers who are not self-isolating after returning from travel outside Canada before March 25th (or anyone else who should be self-isolating but is not), call Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000.
- For concerns about organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people, call the Peterborough Police Service non-emergency line at 705-876-1122 or the Ontario Provincial Police non-emergency line at 1-888-310-1122. Do not call 911.
- For COVID-19 concerns about your workplace or construction site, call the Ministry of Labour’s Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.
- For concerns related to landlord or tenant issues, call the Landlord Tenant Board at 1-888-332-3234.
- For concerns about a non-essential business or service that is remaining open, call Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000 if your complaint involves any of the following businesses or services: child care facilities, recreational camps, shelter services, personal services settings (including mobile and home-based settings), tanning salons, facilities providing indoor recreational programs including indoor public pools and whirlpools, food premises, including restaurants and bars, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, places of worship, theatres and cinemas (including drive-ins), trailer parks, and schools (public and private).
- For concerns about ano other non-essential business or service that is remaining open, call the Peterborough Police Service non-emergency line at 705-876-1122 or the Ontario Provincial Police non-emergency line at 1-888-310-1122. Do not call 911.