COVID-19 in Sask.: Most charges issued for breaking health rules still awaiting resolution

·3 min read
A total of 265 tickets have been issued in Saskatchewan for violations of public health orders since the start of the pandemic, the province says. Of those, 48 have resulted in convictions.  (Leisha Grebinski/CBC - image credit)
A total of 265 tickets have been issued in Saskatchewan for violations of public health orders since the start of the pandemic, the province says. Of those, 48 have resulted in convictions. (Leisha Grebinski/CBC - image credit)

The provincial government will lift public health orders in Saskatchewan on Sunday, but outstanding tickets for breaking COVID-19 health rules in the past will not automatically disappear.

A total of 265 tickets have been issued, with court dates and resolutions still pending for 175 charges, or 66 per cent, according to information from the province's Ministry of Justice.

So far, 48 tickets issued under The Public Health Act for violating public health orders have resulted in convictions.

Fines related to only nine charges have been fully collected and two partially, said the ministry, totalling $24,082 as of June 30.

According to the province, if people pay their charges more than 15 days after the due date they will face an additional $60 late charge.

"If a fine is still unpaid 90 days past its due date, the ministry will send it to a collection agency, to the Canada Revenue agency, or both," a ministry spokesperson said in an email on Friday.

"Collection effort[s] have commenced for unpaid tickets that resulted in a conviction."

Enforcement methods may include garnishment of wages, seizure of personal property, suspending someone's driver's licence and, in extreme cases, possible incarceration, according to the province.

42 charges without consequences

Of the 265 total tickets issued, the remaining 42 charges — about 16 per cent of all tickets — have either been withdrawn, nullified or the jurisdiction was lost, meaning a case can't proceed because of specific circumstances outside the accused's control, the province says.

"At the beginning of the pandemic, a few tickets were withdrawn due to a combination of exceptional circumstances," said the ministry' statement.

"That particular situation will not occur again, and recent changes in regulation will do much to ensure that all matters proceed to court in the future, even in the case of backlogs and delays."

The Crown's decision on whether to pursue a case depends on the likelihood of a conviction and whether it is in the public interest to proceed, the ministry said.

One reason for dropping a charge might be the lack of sufficient evidence, it said.

1 new death, 42 new COVID-19 cases

The province reported one more death related to COVID-19 Saturday, according to online data — a person from the north central region. So far 572 people have died of the disease in Saskatchewan.

The province also announced 42 new COVID-19 cases in the province, bringing the seven-day average of daily new cases to 44, or 3.6 per 100,000 residents.

New cases reported were in the following regions:

  • Far northwest: seven.

  • Far northeast: nine.

  • Northwest: one.

  • North central: one.

  • Northeast: one.

  • Regina: eight.

  • Saskatoon: five.

  • South central: one.

  • Southeast: six.

Residence information was not available for the remaining cases.

Currently there are 414 active cases in Saskatchewan and 48,254 recoveries.

As of Saturday, 61 people are in hospital because of COVID-19. Nine of them are in intensive care.

According to the province's website, health officials administered 15,623 vaccine doses on Friday, with 13,659 people receiving their second shots. Around 13 per cent of the new doses were first shots.

As of Saturday, 549,537 people have been fully vaccinated in Saskatchewan.

Government of Saskatchewan
Government of Saskatchewan
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