NS increases fines and creates a new sanction for those who violate the COVID-19 rules | The Canadian News

Nova Scotia is increasing its fines and adding a new category of crime for individuals and organizations ignoring public health orders after a recent multi-day religious gathering sparked a spike in COVID-19 cases, resulting in an outbreak in a long-term care home. and three dead.

The province has said that organizers of the meeting hosted by Gospel Light Baptist Church in Amherst, NS, did not verify people’s proof of immunization, which is a requirement for church events outside of regular weekly services.

While the pastor was fined $ 2,422, Prime Minister Tim Houston said Wednesday that the current fines “were not enough” and that he would be looking to make changes to the level of the fines.

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In a statement Thursday, the province said there is a new category of crime “that will hold the organizers directly responsible for violating the act and putting themselves and others in danger.”

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He said fines will start at $ 2,422 for the first offense and increase to $ 11,622 for people who organize or attend an illegal gathering.

For organizations, a first time violation will carry a fine of $ 11,622. For the second offense and each of the following, that fine will increase to $ 57,622.

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The statement says the fines include a victim surcharge and other court fees and that people can also face jail time. The new fines take effect immediately.

“I do not want any more loved ones to be lost due to this type of reckless behavior and the current fines were not enough to discourage it,” Prime Minister Tim Houston said in a statement. “My hope is that by substantially increasing fines and increasing law enforcement, we can save lives.”

The new fines take effect immediately.

The province says more than 1,375 fines for summary crimes have been issued under the Health Protection and Emergency Management laws since the provincial state of emergency was declared, totaling $ 1.7 million.


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