Ontario walks back new policing powers following pushback

Ontario’s government walked back some of its new policing powers one day after they were announced, now only allowing police to stop vehicles or people if they are suspected of participating in an organized public event or social gathering.

Doug Ford’s government initially said on Friday that police could stop people at random and ask why they are not at home and where they live as part of a strengthened stay-at-home order to help stem a rising number of COVID-19 cases. 

In a statement Saturday, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said officers will no longer have the right to stop any pedestrian or vehicle to ask why they are out or request their home address.

“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,” Jones said

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

The change came after several police services across Ontario took to social media on Friday saying they won’t comply with the new powers to stop people and question their reason for leaving home.

More to come.

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