Canadian Constitution Foundation condemns new Ontario police powers as “police state”
TORONTO: The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) is today condemning the new powers that have been granted to Ontario police to enforce the province-wide stay at home order.
The new enforcement powers include giving the police the power to stop individuals and vehicles to ask for their name, address, and their purpose for being away from their residence. The powers comes into effect as of midnight on April 17, 2021.
“Ontarians are essentially living under a 24 hour curfew and police will now be able to randomly stop people and vehicles and demand an explanation of why people are out living their lives,” said CCF Executive Director, Joanna Baron. “With these new police powers, Ontario is one step closer to becoming a police state,” continued Baron.
During the last stay at home order, the Solicitor General had directed police not to stop people or vehicles for the sole purpose of demanding why individuals are outside their homes. This new regulation reverses that previous instruction.
“There are 14.5 million people in this province, how exactly are the police going to stop and demand information from anyone they see outside? There are huge practical challenges to this police power to enforce the stay home order, and we are very concerned that it is already over-policed communities who will bear the brunt of this new police power,” continued Baron. “Low income and minority communities have borne the brunt of this pandemic in terms of cases and mortality, and they are now more likely to bear the brunt of police enforcement.”