B.C. RCMP say they ticketed a person for non-essential travel after pulling them over for speeding
VANCOUVER -- The B.C. RCMP says it administered its first ticket for non-essential travel on May 1.
The province's travel restrictions, which limit movement between three regions in B.C., are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. They were ordered by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, but RCMP are responsible for enforcement.
“A vehicle was stopped for more than one driving offence on southern Vancouver Island by a B.C. RCMP Traffic Services officer,” wrote Cpl. Mike Halskov of RCMP Traffic Services in a May 11 email to CTV News Vancouver.
A conversation with the driver, who was from North Vancouver, revealed that he was travelling for non-essential purposes, Halskov said.
“The officer issued a ticket under the Emergency Program Act and directed the driver to return to the Lower Mainland immediately. The driver was also issued tickets for the driving offences,” he wrote.
For the most part, enforcement of the travel restrictions began on May 6, with a set of four roadblocks operated by RCMP, set up at various highways. On Sunday, a few days after the roadblocks were set up, RCMP’s Dawn Roberts told CTV News that officers had not issued any tickets or fines at the roadblocks. However, she did not mention the May 1 incident on Vancouver Island, which happened outside of a roadblock.
Advocates have expressed concern that the travel enforcements will disproportionately impact or be applied to marginalized groups. On April 30, in response to such concerns, Farnworth said the travel restriction enforcement orders “apply to the site where the road checks are taking place.”
Farnworth also said there would be no COVID-19 road checks on Vancouver Island.
On Sunday, Roberts said she wanted people to know that the roadblocks are clearly marked, with signs well ahead of the checkpoints, allowing people to turn back on their own should their reason for travel not be within the parameters of essential travel.
“It’s not as if they just suddenly come upon it,” she said on May 9.
“I think there was concern sort of originally that we’d be doing sort of random – or that people wouldn’t know where they are, kind of thing. We’re putting (sic) very clear about where they could be, we’re just not forecasting whether or not it's going to happen at eight in the morning, or three o'clock in the afternoon,” she said.