Woman fined $500 for violating Yukon COVID-19 declaration rule for travellers

·2 min read

A Dawson-area woman has been ordered to pay a $500 fine after violating Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA).

Chloe Sergerie pleaded guilty Jan. 12 in territorial court in Whitehorse to one count of failing to complete a declaration form, a requirement under Yukon's COVID-19 measures for anyone entering the territory.

According to an agreed statement of facts read out by Crown attorney Kelly McGill, Sergerie entered Yukon by road on a school bus in September 2020. At the time, Yukon had a travel bubble with British Columbia, and Sergerie provided officials at the border with a B.C. driver's licence.

She was not asked to fill out a declaration at that time.

However, CEMA officers who spoke to Sergerie in Whitehorse on Sept. 28, 2020, learned that she had travelled through Alberta, and therefore should have filled out a form and been subject to a mandatory isolation period. They instructed her to get a form at the Whitehorse airport and complete it.

She had not done so when officers checked in with her the next day.

McGill said the Crown was seeking the maximum fine available under CEMA — $500, plus a $75 victim surcharge — arguing that Yukon's COVID-19 measures were "obligations" that arose from "public safety concerns" and that the government had good reasons to subject travellers to them.

Sergerie told the court that she told CEMA officers on both Sept. 28 and 29 that she was willing to fill out a declaration if they brought the form to her, but thought going out of her way to get the form would "contradict" COVID-19 safety measures.

"For me, it was the safest decision I could make," she said of not filling out a declaration.

Justice of the peace Sharman Morrison rejected Sergerie's reasoning.

"I don't accept that as what a reasonable person would do," she said, adding that a reasonable person would have gone to the airport while taking precautions like wearing a mask.

"I think you should probably feel lucky in some respects," Morrison added, noting that fines for similar violations in other jurisdictions can be in the "thousands" of dollars.

Morrison gave Sergerie five months to pay her fine.

The Crown stayed a charge of failing to self-isolate.