Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the protocols on enforcement of the new Quarantine Act are still being worked. (File photo)

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the protocols on enforcement of the new Quarantine Act are still being worked. (File photo)

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate facing penalty; details of Quarantine Act still being worked out

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

It’s currently not known if the couple in the Cowichan Valley who have not been self isolating since recently returning to Canada from an overseas trip will face any legal repercussions.

Apparently, the issue of who is responsible for enforcing the new federal Quarantine Act that now makes it mandatory for people to isolate themselves for 14 days is still being worked out.

In a press conference on April 3, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said no one in B.C. has been fined or jailed for not self isolating after returning to Canada since the Act became law on March 25.

She said the RCMP will be in charge of enforcement of the Act, but the protocols on enforcement are still being worked.

However, according to a recent news release from the province’s COVID-19 Joint Information Centre, municipal bylaw officers are supposed to be supporting the enforcement of orders from the provincial health officer under the provincial Public Health Act.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN COUPLE WON’T SELF ISOLATE AFTER RETURNING FROM OVERSEAS

In the same press conference, B.C.’s Health Minister Adrian Dix said authorities have to have “vastly greater capacity” to enforce the Act, but wasn’t specific as to who is in charge of enforcing it.

“We need stronger action,” he simply said.

“The sacrifice of every citizen is needed when they come from other countries, and self-isolation must happen.”

After receiving complaints about the Cowichan couple who were not self isolating, bylaw officers from the Municipality of North Cowichan went to the couple’s home to drop off educational materials for them.

Under the new rules, it’s the job of North Cowichan, and all municipalities in B.C., to provide information to people returning to the country about the new self-isolation rules, but they cannot actually ticket anyone.

After the bylaw officers assessed that the couple likely didn’t intend to self isolate, they sent the information to the public health office in Nanaimo.

RELATED STORY: REGIONAL DISTRICT OF NANAIMO WANTS TO SELF-ISOLATE DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring addressed the issue of self isolating on his Facebook page.

He said that in an earlier press conference this week, Dr. Henry said that “there may be different messages that people have received at the airport…(But) our approach has been…to ensure that people know what is expected of them, and that’s the first thing”.

“Most of the cases that we have been involved in that have been investigated (either from Public Health or Bylaw Officers), it’s people not understanding and not being very clear about what is expected of them,” Siebring quoted Henry as saying.

“And for the most part when we do (explain the new rules), people are compliant. And that’s the approach that we recommend taking. The federal Quarantine Order can be accompanied by fines and other things, but that would be through RCMP and the Quarantine Service.”

According to the Quarantine Act, the maximum penalties for non-compliance include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.

The Quarantine Act also stipulates that a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening the Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1 million, or to imprisonment of up to three years, or to both.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

The frequent disruptions to water service in Chemainus are expected to be a lot less after North Cowichan replaces the Smiley Road water main. (File photo)
Smiley Road water main in Chemainus to be replaced

$890,000 project expected to be completed this spring

Cowichan Tribes open up vaccinations for members who are 40 and older. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes opens up vaccinations for members 18 and older

Vaccination sessions to be held over weekend

Kim McGregor died in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run accident in Chemainus. (Photo submitted)
Victim identified in Valentine’s Day Chemainus hit-and-run

Kim McGregor grew up in Chemainus and had recently returned to be close to his parents

The Cowichan Valley Regional District will use fire hydrants to flush water systems in Youbou, Honeymoon Bay, Mesachie Lake and Bald Mountain in March. (Robert Barron/Gazette)
Water system flushing in Cowichan Lake communities in March may cause discolouration warns CVRD

Water pipes in Youbou, Honeymoon Bay, Mescahie Lake, and Bald Mountain targeted

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

RCMP say a woman turned herself in to police after hitting a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident in downtown Nanaimo on Friday morning. (File photo)
Driver flees, then turns herself in after hitting pedestrian in downtown Nanaimo

RCMP say woman was struck in marked crosswalk after driver ran red light

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Most Read