What are the emergency rules in Ontario because of the COVID-19 pandemic?Updated July 9

On April 8, 2021, Ontario declared a third state of emergency with a “stay at home” order. On May 21, 2021, Ontario announced a 3-step reopening plan. The province will stay in each step for 21 days. Moving to the next step will depend on:

  • the number of people vaccinated, and
  • public health and health care measures

It is expected that most of Ontario will enter the steps as follows:

  • Step 1 on June 14: reopening of outdoor activities with small groups of people, and some retail stores
  • Step 2 on June 30: expanding outdoor activities and reopening some indoor activities with small groups of people wearing face coverings
  • Step 3 on July 16: expanding indoor activities including indoor dining and opening gyms

These dates may change. For more information read here.

You must continue to follow the rules about things like wearing masks, social distancing, and limits to the number of people. If you have questions about the emergency order, contact your local public health unit.

Fines for breaking the rules

Any provincial offences officer can stop you and ask you to identify yourself if they have “reasonable and probable” reasons to believe you're not following the emergency rules. They can also stop group gatherings and ask guests to leave.

Provincial offence officers include:

  • police officers
  • First Nations constables
  • special constables
  • municipal by-law enforcement officers

It is unclear whether the police and provincial offences officers can stop you on the street or while driving and ask you to give your home address and reason for not being home.

If you're caught breaking the rules, you can be charged with one or more provincial offences. You might get a ticket or a summons that tells you to go to court. The minimum punishment for each provincial offence is:

  • a fine of $750, or
  • a fine of $1,000 if you tried to stop the officer from giving you or someone else a ticket.

The maximum punishment for each offence is one year in jail, or a fine of up to $100,000.

If you continue to break the rules, you can be charged with a separate offence for each day that you did not follow the rules.

Many municipalities have also passed their own by-laws with fines that may be different than the provincial amounts.

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