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Provincial Updates: More Enforcement Coming, Extended Holiday Break Considered

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Premier Brian Pallister Government of Manitoba

On Tuesday, November 17, Premier Brian Pallister announced that more enforcement of public health orders is on the way. The province has signed a contract with G4S Canada to expand the number of enforcement officers available across Manitoba.

“We’re targeting those [Manitobans] who refuse to follow public health advice and put others at risk,” says Pallister.

G4S is expected to provide upwards of 90 personnel to bolster the complement of provincial employees enforcing public health orders.

Specialized training will be provided through Commissionaires Manitoba. This training is also being extended to provincial employees who have been redeployed to help bolster enforcement efforts.

So far, a total of 68 individuals have already been trained, with approximately 80 people scheduled to complete the program this week.

“I would like to thank all of our frontline personnel,” says Pallister, “including police, our environment and conservation officers, public health and Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority inspectors, municipal bylaw officers, and security officers, and everyone who is working hard to stop those who are disregarding public health measures aimed at keeping Manitobans safe.”

In the past week, enforcement officers have issued a total of 32 tickets for various offences, including large gathering sizes, failure to quarantine, and a northern travel violation.

Municipal Enforcement Support Program

Another enforcement measure, the Municipal Enforcement Support Program, was announced on November 6, which resulted in 91 community bylaw officers being deployed to enforcements public health orders.

In addition to direct enforcement, this program will provide more than $2.5 million in direct financial support and ticket revenue to municipalities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The program provides municipalities with access to funding, accelerated training, and a provincial coordination network for personnel who directly enforce public health orders. Municipalities will receive 100 percent of the ticket revenue from tickets issued to violators.

Fines, Charges to Be Issued to Protesters

At his Tuesday press briefing, Pallister also acknowledged his specific frustration about an anti-mask rally that was held in Steinbach over the weekend. Enforcement officers were on scene to write some tickets, but Pallister has now clarified that people who attended that rally should expect to receive tickets in the mail.

“The rally was dangerous in the way it was conducted,” he says. “The rally was disrespectful. Fines are being issued as we speak to those who demonstrated that disrespect.”

But in his comments, Pallister went even further, saying that the province is moving to file charges against certain rally participants. Although he respects the right to peaceful protest, he says there is a limit when those protests put people in danger.

Extended Christmas Break Considered

Another subject that came up on Tuesday was the notion of extending the Christmas break for Manitoba students, in acknowledgement of the reality that many families will get together at Christmas despite messaging from the province advising them not to.

This proposal in step with other provinces, such as British Columbia and Quebec, who are considering a similar measure.

If the extension happens, it is likely to be include two extra weeks at the end of the regularly scheduled break. This is equivalent to one incubation period of the virus.

For more information

Manitobans are encouraged to contact the province’s enhanced tip line to voice their concerns and share information about possible breaches of public health orders. Manitobans can report compliance and enforcement issues by visiting www.manitoba.ca/COVID19 and completing the reporting form, or by calling 204-945-3744 or 1-866-626-4862 (toll-free) and pressing option three on the call menu.

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