Most B.C. residents would support harsh consequences for people who break quarantine or resell needed supplies during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new poll.
The Research Co. survey found 77 per cent of B.C. residents think those who disregard their quarantine or self-isolation periods should be fined. Nationally, 72 per cent think fines should be issued, the poll suggests.
Even more Canadians – 79 per cent – think fines should be issued for people who have bought items and re-sold them at a higher price.
But Canadians are more divided when considering jail time for these offences. About 45 per cent say jail time should be authorized for those who ignore their quarantine or self-isolation while 45 per cent are opposed to the idea.
Results for the survey were gathered on March 21 and 22, which was days before B.C. outlined some strict measures for those ignoring the provincial health officer's instructions. For example, the resale of food, medical supplies, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies has since been banned.
As well, municipal police officers across the province can enforce the provincial health officer's orders for business closures and gatherings.
"We will be enabling municipal bylaw officers to be redeployed to help ensure compliance with the provincial health officer's recommendations and orders. Orders which could carry fines or even jail time," said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general at a news conference on March 26.
Meanwhile, days before the province's announcement, the City of Vancouver stated it would issue fines up to $50,000 for anyone not following its state of emergency bylaw.
Individuals not practicing physical distancing in certain areas can be fined as much as $1,000 by the city. These fines would be similar to parking tickets, and could be fought in court. The decision to ticket would be up to the discretion of the bylaw officer.
The margin of error for Research Co.'s survey – which measures sample variability – is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kendra Mangione