Contracting out COVID-19 fines: Brampton sends private security to guard a volleyball court

Welcome to the City of Brampton, Ontario, a place where having a good time is strictly verboten during the global pandemic.

Just pay a visit to Chinguacousy Park. This park might actually be one of the best parks in the entire Greater Toronto Area given all the amenities. Too bad so many of those park's amenities – ranging from the children’s playground to the football field – are in still in lockdown mode. Indeed, Brampton Bylaw officers are ever diligent to zap the city’s citizens with $880 fines should they have the temerity to engage in fun in the sun.

In fact, Brampton’s bylaw battalion achieved a record last week. In the timeframe of seven days, bylaw officers handed out a jaw-dropping 127 charges under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Almost $112,00 in a single week!

But how is it that these bylaw officers are so darn efficient in the first place? How do they know where to go and when to go?

Well, we solved this mystery by visiting Chinguacousy Park the other day.

You see, the City of Brampton has a contract with Paladin Security. And the role of these officers is not to “serve and protect” but rather, to “observe and snitch.”

So it is that security guards strategically stake out areas of Brampton’s parks to catch anyone enjoying some illicit fun. While they do not have the power to ticket citizens, their role is to phone the bylaw department. And then, faster than you can say “eight-hundred and eighty dollars, please” the violator is written up.

When we spent some time in Chinguacousy Park the other day, we actually observed a security guard spying on the park’s beach volleyball courts – courts that were already rendered useless by the fact that the city has not affixed nets to the posts.

Ah, but the ever-diligent security guard was keeping close watch on this deserted faux-beach anyway. Hey, you never now if some scofflaw will bring his own netting and get a game going, right? Or maybe someone will drop by to practice his serve? Can’t have that kind of lawlessness in Brampton! (As an aside, how is beach volleyball so... dangerous? It’s played by two teams of two people who are separated by a net. But then again, Mayor Patrick “Crybaby” Brown, the would-be premier of the province if not for a palace coup some two years ago, well... he knows best.)

And so that the city’s beach volleyball courts remain under the watchful eye of Big Brother. No fun in the sun here. It’s for your protection, you understand. And if you don’t understand, well perhaps an $880 fine will facilitate a come to Jesus moment...