COVID-19: Ford walks back new police powers; Ontario reports 4,250 new cases

Intensive care unit occupancy continues to climb to record highs as Doug Ford revises a new regulation on police powers

Top COVID-19 stories and news

Ontario puts restrictions on inter-provincial travel, boosts police powers

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Here are the rules for Ontario’s new stay-at-home-order

Here’s the list of third wave shutdown restrictions in Ontario

Ford government walks back new police powers after backlash

11:30 am Ontario is revising a new rule that would have given police power to arbitrarily stop people and cars to during the stay-at-home order.

Instead, police will be able to stop people if officers believe someone is part of an organized public event or social gathering.

“If a police officer or other provincial offences officer has reason to suspect that you are participating in an organized public event or social gathering, they may require you to provide information to ensure you are complying with restrictions,” reads a statement from Solicitor General Sylvia Jones’ office.

“Every individual who is required to provide a police officer or other provincial offences officer with information shall promptly comply.”

The statement adds the temporary enhanced police power were intended to stop COVID-19 spread via large gatherings.

“That is why we provided police services with the additional temporary authority to enforce the stay-at-home order by putting a stop to gatherings and crowds,” it reads.

After Jones announced the beefed up police powers, lawyers, anti-racist advocates and politicians warned the measure would lead to racial profiling. Several police forces across the province, including the Toronto Police Service, refused to follow the directive, saying it would harm public trust in police.

Michael Bryant, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said he would pause a planned legal action now that the province has revised the order.

“We will take yes for an answer and put this legal challenge on pause, with respect to the police powers expanded yesterday. This new order (released late this afternoon) restores an investigative detention standard for police stops,” he said in a statement on Saturday night. “The new order rationalizes and narrows the unconstitutional Friday standard. The new standard is also tied to a public health objective, and avoids arbitrary detention.  

“It means people should return to being as free as they were before this happened. That may be a freedom wrongly curbed by racial profiling, police bias and discrimination, against which we will continue to fight,” the statement adds.

Ontario reports 4,250 new COVID-19 cases, 18 deaths

11 am Ontario is reporting 4,250 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths on April 18.

The province detected 4,362 new cases on Saturday, 4,812 on Friday and 4,736 on Thursday. The seven-day average dropped slightly for the first time since March 16 from 4,370 on Saturday to 4,341 today.

A total of 53,776 tests were completed in the past 24 hours, with the province reporting a positivity rate of 9.2 per cent and a calculated per cent positive of 7.9 per cent.

Ontario administered 86,565 total vaccine doses in the past day, well below the vaccination numbers of the past few days that surpassed the 100,000 mark. That brings the provincial total to 3,837,881 total doses administered and 345,310 people fully vaccinated.

There are now 41,588 active cases in the province, including 2,107 people who are hospitalized and 741 patients in intensive care. Of those patients, 506 are on ventilators.

One of the deaths reported today was someone between the ages of 20 and 39, and four were people between the ages of 40 and 59.

The province is reporting 2,152 additional B117 confirmed cases, two more B1351 cases and five confirmed P1 cases.

To date, the province has seen 412,745 total COVID-19 cases and 7,698 deaths.

New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on April 18

The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:

Toronto = 1,162

Peel = 936

York Region = 430

Durham Region = 301

Ottawa = 251

City of Hamilton = 211

Niagara Region = 151

Halton Region = 144

Middlesex-London = 117

Simcoe Muskoka District = 114

Region of Waterloo = 84

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 72

Windsor-Essex County = 70

Brant County = 46

Haldimand-Norfolk = 37

Eastern Ontario = 34

Porcupine = 31

Grey Bruce = 29

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge = 25

Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District = 18

Hastings Prince Edward = 16

Southwestern = 15

Sudbury & Districts = 13

Peterborough = 12

Northwestern = 10

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington = 9

Thunder Bay District = 7

Lambton = 6

Chatham-Kent = 5

Huron Perth = 5


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