The World Forum - April 21st, 2024

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Hefty fines were supposed to help enforce COVID-19 rules in Ontario. But almost a year into the pandemic few have been paid


 

Only 18 per cent of COVID-19 charges laid in Ontario since March last year had been dealt with by the justice system by the end of January, leaving hundreds of thousands of unpaid fines outstanding nearly a year into the pandemic.

Only 990 of the 5,584 charges laid since March 2020 had been dealt with — fines being paid, the charges withdrawn or another disposition — as of January 2021, according to data provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Just 100 of 1,027 Toronto charges had been dealt with in the same period.

In fact, Toronto had the highest percentage of unresolved charges — 90 per cent — compared to all the other regions and compared to 82 per cent for the province overall.

As of January, a total $469,839 in fines had been paid across the province, including $27,620 from Toronto.

Hefty fines have been held up by provincial and other officials as a way to help enforce social distancing and other COVID-19 related rules.

Only 18 per cent of all COVID-19-related charges had been dealt with - fines paid, charges withdrawn or otherwise - by January 2021.

In September, Premier Doug Ford announced a new minimum fine of $10,000 for organizers of illegal social gatherings — the highest fine anywhere in the country, he said then.

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