RCMP have announced they will now be involved in enforcing the Federal Quarantine Act.
The Quarantine Act requires anyone entering Canada unless specifically exempted, must isolate or quarantine (self-isolate) themselves for 14 days while watching for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
In a press release, police say the Public Health Agency of Canada has asked police agencies across the country to provide physical verification that those subject to the mandatory order are complying with the requirements which means they are inside their homes and following isolation orders.
"These checks will generally be limited to persons who, after PHAC has done initial verifications by phone, text or e-mail, may require a physical verification by police," the release states.
The RCMP's response to the order is also limited to non-compliance within its policing jurisdiction while focusing on education and encouragement.
"RCMP officers will attempt to conduct physical verification with the individual while maintaining physical distancing," the statement adds. "Our officers will speak to the person, inform them of the law and explain the importance of compliance, as well as the potential consequences of non-compliance."
Failing or violating the Quarantine Act will come with major consequences including fines and prison time.
Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or six months of jail.
A person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly violating the act could be handed a $1,000,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to three years.
Arrests would be the last resort, based on the circumstance and the officer's risk assessment and not the preferred approach.
"Choosing to ignore mandatory isolation and quarantine orders is not only against the law, it's also putting citizens, first responders, health professionals and the most vulnerable at risk of exposure to the virus," RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says. "Collectively, everyone in Canada has a role to play to ensure compliance with isolation and physical distancing measures."