Bylaw officers issue thousands of dollars in fines after people pack Mississauga house party

·2 min read

Peel police say city bylaw officers have doled out thousands of dollars in fines after about 60 people attended a party at a short-term rental unit in Mississauga, Ont.

The party took place near Ninth Line and Deepwood Heights. Police were called to the house at 12:15 a.m.

Officers went to the scene to help city bylaw officers who are handling enforcement of public health restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, Const. Kyle Villers told CBC Toronto.

When police arrived, around half of the party-goers left and 29 people remained, he said.

Const. Kyle Villers, spokesperson for Peel Regional Police, said 27 people who were considered guests at the party were given $880 tickets under the Reopening Ontario Act of 2020 for violating limits on gatherings.

Two people who hosted the party received a summons that carries a minimum $10,000 fine under the same act. The two are accused of failing to comply a continued section 7.0.2 order.

Of the 27 guests, two refused to identify themselves and police arrested and charged them with obstruction of justice, a criminal offence. The two were taken to a police station and were scheduled to attend a bail hearing on Sunday, he said.

Villers said the house is short-term rental unit and the party-goers were young adults.

Peel region is currently under the province's grey lockdown zone, in which no indoor gatherings are permitted unless people are members of the same household, with some exceptions, including support for seniors living alone.

Ben Breit, spokesperson for Airbnb, the company that listed the short-term rental unit, said the party was "unauthorized."

"Airbnb bans parties, and the reported behaviour is outrageous. We are in touch with Mississauga officials to offer our support and have deactivated the listing as we investigate further," Breit said in a statement on Sunday.

Earlier this year, Airbnb announced a global ban on all parties.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in a statement on Sunday that she was disappointed to learn about the large gathering.

"For weeks, I have been telling people to stay home, only leave home to get the essentials and limit your close in-person contact to just your immediate household," Crombie said.

"Everyone has to play their part to get this virus under control. With numbers as high as they are, people must remain vigilant. The virus right now is controlling us, we're not controlling the virus," she said.

"These charges and tickets send a strong signal to the community that we are taking the situation extremely seriously and will not hesitate to enforce the rules."