General Statement on Enforcement Priorities
The Hamilton Police Service together with the City of Hamilton’s Licensing and Bylaw Services are monitoring and, where necessary, using enforcement tools to ensure public safety in our community. Priority is being given to enforcement of the Provincial Orders requiring non-essential businesses to close and prohibiting organized gatherings of more than 50 individuals, as well as monitoring closed City facilities such as Albion Falls. Enforcement authority with respect to the Provincial Orders rests with the Hamilton Police Services, but City of Hamilton By-law Officers are providing support to the Police as needed.
- Businesses and Business Operations
The Provincial Government has ordered that all non-essential businesses close for the next two weeks. The Province has released a list of what businesses are considered essential, and are therefore permitted to remain open. This can be found at: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/list-of-essential-workplaces.html
Each individual business will need to examine the provincial criteria to determine whether their business is considered essential or non-essential. The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the Provincial Order.
Businesses found in violation of the Provincial Order may be fined by the Hamilton Police Service. Individuals may be liable for a fine up to $1000 for their first offence, with a corporation liable for a fine up to $500,000 If you suspect any business of operating contrary to the Provincial Order, please contact Licensing Enforcement Team at the City of Hamilton Contact Centre at 905 546-2489.
Licensing Officers will assist the Hamilton Police Service to investigate violations of this Provincial Order.
If any Business or Employee of the Business is not following proper hygiene or precautions, this can be reported to Public Health at – COVID19 Response firstname.lastname@example.org or call the hotline at (905) 974-9848
If any Employee of a Business has safety concerns while on the job it should be reported to their Health and Safety representative or the Ministry of Labour, Health and Safety Centre 1-877-202-0008
- Organized Gatherings of 50 or More People
The Province has made an order prohibiting organized gatherings of more than 50 individuals. This only applies to organized gatherings, and does not include public spaces, stores, etc. where more than 50 people happen to be at a given point of time.
This order is enforced through the Hamilton Police Services, not Licensing and Bylaw Services. If members of the public observe an organized gathering of more than 50 people, they can contact Hamilton Police Services at 905 546-4925.
Licensing and Bylaw Services will periodically monitor high traffic public areas to determine if there are additional measures that need to be taken by the City.
- Closed Parks – Albion Falls
Albion Falls, as well as Hamilton Conservation Authority conservation areas, have been closed to the public. This means no one should park in the areas or access the trails or the parks. Municipal Law Enforcement Officers will monitor these areas and will enforce if necessary, if anyone is in the park illegally. Municipal Law Enforcement can be reached by calling the City of Hamilton Contact Centre at 905 546-2489. City of Hamilton Parking Officers will also be enforcing parking restrictions at these areas.
- High Traffic Public Spaces – City Parks, Trails and Stairways
The City of Hamilton strongly encourages everyone to follow the advice of Public Health officials and to physically separate from one another. That includes in public spaces, such as on trails, sidewalks, or in parks.
To ensure public safety in public spaces, the City has taken a number of actions.
Playground equipment and park structures such as benches are not sanitized, so the City has announced that this equipment is closed, and therefore use of this equipment is prohibited until further notice. Municipal Law Enforcement officers will periodically proactively monitor these areas.
Signage is being placed in some locations where there have been larger numbers of people, such as on the Escarpment stairs, cautioning the public to limit use to essential travel and to practice physical distancing. If you don’t need to use the stairs, stay off them.
The City’s by-law officers are also monitoring and patrolling high traffic public spaces across the City. If members of the public observe a location where individuals are not practicing physical distancing, they are advised to avoid those areas.
- Enforcement of Physical Distancing
Physical distancing is a matter of personal responsibility. It is not something that is enforceable by City by-law officers.
Public health officials at all levels of Government, including Dr. Richardson, the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Hamilton, strongly recommend that everyone should be avoiding close contact with others. Close contact includes being within 2 meters (6 feet) of another person. It is everyone’s personal responsibility to practice physical distancing. We are at a critical point in the evolution of this outbreak in Hamilton, and Canada, and it is up to all of us to influence how this unfolds.
To the extent possible, public health officials are strongly recommending that people stay home.
When they do need to go out, they should be practicing physical distancing. This applies to people walking on the street, shopping in stores, working in their workplace, and everywhere else that people may come into contact with others.
While the City does not have the authority to enforce physical distancing through fines or by-laws, the City has been very aggressively and strongly communicating to the public that they should be physically distancing, both for their own safety and for the safety of others.
If members of the public witness locations where others are not practicing social distancing, they are recommended to avoid those locations.