covid fines toronto

Here's how much you can be fined for breaking Toronto's new COVID rules

Think you can ignore Toronto's COVID guidelines — the ones put in place on Saturday on top of Ontario's own framework — because they're "just recommendations"?

Think again... especially if you happen to run a business.

Toronto Public Health's "specific enhanced measures" are fully enforceable for places of business, as five Entertainment District restaurants learned the hard way this weekend.

City officials haven't named the establishments in question or disclosed how much they were fined, but Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa and Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg did clarify during a press conference on Monday that businesses can face fines of up to $25,000 per day for each day of non-compliance.

Individuals, on the other hand, can be fined up to $5,000 a day for failing to comply with the newly-launched Toronto-specific rules under a class order pursuant to Section 22 of Ontario's Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Under normal circumstances, these types of fines would be doled out by Toronto Public Health inspectors, but the city clarified on Monday that Toronto Police and bylaw enforcement officers have authority to enforce de Villa's order.

"Failure to comply with this Order is an offence for which you may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of no more than $5,000 (for a person) or $25,000 (for a corporation) for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues," reads the class order.

Between Ontario's red zone level of restriction, which Toronto entered on November 14, and de Villa's orders, as announced on Friday, indoor dining, group fitness classes, hookah lounges, event spaces, casinos and other gaming establishments must remain closed for a period of at least 28 days.

Cinemas and performing arts venues must also remain closed, per the province's orders, and any personal care services requiring the removal of masks are likewise prohibited. 

In addition to these rules, Both de Villa and Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams are asking members of the public to limit all social gatherings, restrict close contact to those within their own households and hold off on non-essential activities outside the home.

Members of the general public can't be ticketed for breaking either doctor's reccomendations (unless, of course, they foster the spread of COVID-19 within a business), but anyone can still face steep fines for violating provincial orders such as those pertaining to social gathering limits.

Hosting a party with more than 10 people inside a building or 25 outside could land you a $10,000 ticket, while attending a gathering of the same size could cost you $750.

Tighter restrictions are predicted for Toronto residents, however, and they could carry with them even steeper penalties.

While unclear what, exactly, these new restrictions will entail, Mayor John Tory says we can expect to see more limits put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 "within days."

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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