The Manitoba government will now allow municipal bylaw enforcement officers to enforce public health orders in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen and Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires announced Friday morning that regulatory amendments have been made to make this possible.

“Despite extensive public health education campaigns, compliance with public health orders continues to be an issue,” says Cullen. “Empowering additional enforcement personnel will help address the ongoing concerns about non-compliance as we reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Amendments will be in effect immediately to support increased measures under the Pandemic Response System.

Current orders under the Public Health Act restrict gatherings and limit group sizes, set out the distance individuals are required to observe from one another and require businesses to ensure their customers are able to maintain the required separation.

These regulatory amendments empower municipal bylaw enforcement officers to issue tickets for the violation of public health emergency orders and emergency health hazard orders including the following:

  • orders limiting the size of gatherings;
  • orders imposing health protection measures on business (e.g. social distancing, capacity limits, patrons to remain seated at bars, etc.);
  • orders requiring people with a positive COVID-19 test, or those advised they are a close contact, to self-isolate;
  • orders requiring people travelling into Manitoba to self-isolate according to public health; and
  • orders prohibiting travel to northern Manitoba.

“Empowering bylaw officers with the ability to enforce public health orders will increase compliance and enable municipalities to address specific concerns in their communities,” says Squires. “These regulatory amendments provide another tool that we can deploy in the fight against COVID-19.”

At the start of the pandemic, fines were set for breach of public health emergency orders. These fines were amended Oct. 20 and are now set at $1,296 for individuals and $5,000 for corporations.

Previously, public health orders were enforceable by the RCMP and other police agencies, the Health Protection Unit, Manitoba Conservation and Climate, Workplace Safety and Health, and the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority.

These regulatory amendments now authorize municipal bylaw enforcement officers as an additional enforcement body.