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Quebec’s punitive approach to dealing with the pandemic criticized

A recent report revealed that 46,563 COVID-related fines were issued in Quebec between September 2020 and October 2021. During that period, Quebec’s police force issued more than 123 statements of offence per day on average.

Quebec’s punitive approach to dealing with the pandemic criticized
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, many measures were put in place to restrict the population from gathering with the intention of slowing the spread of the virus. However, some provinces in Canada took a much stricter approach than others regarding the police enforcement of these measures.

Back in June 2020, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project released an initial report concluding that between April 1, 2020, and June 15, 2020, 66% of all fines issued in Canada were issued in Quebec during the first wave of the pandemic.

A recent report released by the ‘Observatoire des profilages’ (ODP) revealed that a whopping 46,563 COVID-related fines were issued in Quebec between September 21, 2020, and October 3, 2021. During that period, the province's police force issued more than 123 statements of offence per day on average.

Of these 46,563 fines, 48,4% were issued in relation to the province’s curfew.

For the 139 days which the curfew was in effect, the report found that the average of fines issued was 162 per day for that reason alone. The last week of March 2021 saw the highest number of statements of offence for curfew violations with a total of 1,374 fines in a single week.

Following the ODP’s report, the ‘Ligue des droits et libertés’ (LDL) issued a press release on March 10, 2022 denouncing Premier Legault's government's punitive approach to managing the pandemic.

The LDL considers the use of police repression to be a political and arbitrary choice to manage the pandemic and reminds that this punitive approach was not debated in the National Assembly, due to the government's continued state of health emergency.

“The curfew is a liberticidal measure that has not been scientifically proven to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 when, on the contrary, it is well known that it has had disproportionate negative effects on many marginalized populations,” says Catherine Descoteaux, LDL coordinator.

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