Police will begin stopping Ontario-bound passenger vehicles Monday

·2 min read
A police checkpoint on the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., on April 1, 2020. Ottawa police say they'll have officers set up 24/7 at all vehicle crossings between the Outaouais and Ottawa starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday. (Emilien Juteau/CBC - image credit)
A police checkpoint on the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., on April 1, 2020. Ottawa police say they'll have officers set up 24/7 at all vehicle crossings between the Outaouais and Ottawa starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday. (Emilien Juteau/CBC - image credit)

Ottawa police say they will have officers stationed at all five interprovincial bridges and two ferries linking the Outaouais and Ottawa.

It's all in response to a provincial order restricting only essential travel into Ontario from neighbouring provinces. The measures come into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, and restrict travel to those who live or work in Ontario, are entering the province for health-care reasons, Indigenous Treaty Rights, child care or custody matters, transporting goods, or are travelling through the province to go somewhere else.

Officers will be stationed 24/7 on the Ontario side of the Champlain, Portage, Chaudière and Macdonald-Cartier bridges as well as the docks for the Quyon and the Bourbonnais ferries, the Ottawa Police Service wrote in a release Sunday afternoon.

Officers will also be stationed at the Alexandra Bridge, as the provincial order also applies to pedestrians and cyclists, according to the statement.

We have to trust that people are going to be honest. - Inspector Michel Marin

Police said officers will only stop private passenger vehicles and not commercial ones, which are exempt from the provincial order.

"We're going to ask for a reason why you're going into Ontario and then you'll be sent on your way," said Inspector Michel Marin. "If we're asking [drivers] to turn around for whatever reasons, we'll be keeping tabs on that."

No written documentation needed

He said officers don't have plans to issue fines to people who may re-offend.

"Most people we're dealing with have the good commonsense approach to why we're doing this and the general public generally tends to be very co-operative and we're not anticipating any major issues on those bridges," said Marin.

He said officers won't require written documentation to show someone has an essential reason for entering Ontario.

"We have to trust that people are going to be honest," he said.

"There are quite a number of people that live on the Gatineau, Que., side that come to Ottawa every day to work and a lot of those folks are essential workers ... We'll simply allow them through."

Ontario Provincial Police will also have officers stationed on interprovincial roadways, including highways 401, 417, and 17, and the interprovincial bridge at John Street in Hawkesbury, Ont.