Road checks will be conducted to ensure only essential travel

Essential travel road checks

UPDATE: 11:15 a.m.

With the new travel bans in place, those travelling to and from the Lower Mainland could now be stopped at a police road check in key areas between regions, like the three highways east of Hope.

B.C.'s Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth announced the travel ban last week, and on Friday, he provided more details on how the enforcement of the ban will work.

“Once stopped at a road check, drivers may be asked to provide the driver's name, address and driver's licence, and any available documentation regarding the driver's name and address, for example secondary identification that confirms driver's residential address if you've recently moved, and the purpose of driver's travel,” Farnworth said.

“Documentation regarding travel will not be required, and passengers in the vehicle are also not required to provide this information.”

He noted there were constitutional and legal concerns that had to be considered when figuring out the details of enforcement, which is why only the driver of the vehicle will be questioned.

Section 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians from being “arbitrarily detained.” But while the courts have determined that Counter Attack-style road checks infringe upon this right, they have provided some limited exemptions for them.

While it's unclear how an officer would deduce whether travel is “essential,” if documentation about the travel is not required, Farnworth said police can issue fines to those violating the travel ban.

“If police have reasonable grounds to believe that you are about to leave your regional zone, or are already travelling outside of your health authority for non-essential purposes, they can direct you to stay within your region or to leave the authority at that time,” Farnworth said.

“Failure to comply with the requirements at a road check, or the direction given by a police officer, may result in a $230 fine. Violating the travel order is a $575 fine.”

The minister said the government has been listening to concerns about the travel ban over the past two weeks.

“There is no authority for pedestrians to be stopped on the streets, or for arbitrary inspections or investigations to be conducted by police,” he said.

“These enforcement orders apply to the site where the road checks are taking place.”

Where and when these road checks will be set up will be determined by the RCMP E Division, and only a select number of E Division officers will be conducting the road checks.

A full list of travel considered "essential" can be found here. Friday, Farnworth noted two additional essential travel reasons that have been added – travelling to avoid an abusive situation and travelling to visit residents of long-term care homes.

ORIGINAL: 7 a.m.

British Columbia's solicitor general is expected to announce more details about enforcement of a travel ban aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Mike Farnworth, who is also the public safety minister, announced orders a week ago to limit non-essential travel between three regional zones until May 25. While the ban, limiting non-essential travel in and out of the Lower Mainland, went into effect April 23, Farnworth said details of how enforcement of the ban would work would be released this week.

He has said police will conduct periodic road checks at key travel points and violators could be issued $575 fines.

The National Police Federation has criticized the order, saying it lacks clarity and that its RCMP members in B.C. are at risk of public backlash and exposure to the virus due a slow immunization rollout for officers.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has said Indigenous, Black and racialized communities could be at risk of negative harmful impacts when dealing with police.

However, Farnworth has maintained the province sought input from racialized communities.

– The Canadian Press

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