toronto police illegal gatherings indoor parties

Toronto police busted more illegal gatherings this week than ever before

If you had any doubt about how serious police in Toronto are when it comes to cracking down on illegal gatherings... I mean, I wouldn't blame you too much, given how many parties took place without incident before the current third wave.

Now though, now that there are 16 special enforcement teams dedicated to cracking down on violations of Ontario's provincewide lockdown rules — specifically those pertaining to gathering limits —people are getting ticketed. Like, a lot.

The Toronto Police Service announced today that officers had laid more than 350 charges related to COVID violations between Friday, April 30 and Thursday, May 6.

This is only their second week of action and they're already seeing more illegal gatherings across the city than they did during week one.

"The number of gatherings, parties and events being held across Toronto remains concerningly high," said Staff Superintendent Randy Carter in a news release on Friday.

"Police are being called to attend these scenes on a daily basis. We want to thank the public for their cooperation in reporting these events. You are helping to keep our city safe."

Police say that the enforcement teams are focusing in particular on "individuals attending indoor events including in condos, short-term rentals, and closed bars and restaurants."

And the 350+ charges they note weren't all simple fines handed out under the Reopening Ontario Act; at least 16 were criminal charges.

"Officers have attended 296 incidents in the last week alone (Friday, April 30 to Thursday, May 6) , issuing 338 Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and Reopening Ontario Act tickets as well as 16 criminal charges — over 100 more tickets compared to the previous week," reads the TPS release.

"Since the introduction of the teams on April 22, 2021, more than 570 tickets and charges have been laid across the city, with most calls for service coming from the downtown core."

One incident highlighted by police was what they described as a "noisy party" in the Bloor and Dundas area. Upon arrival, police found a house party with 14 people in attendence and charged them all under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

"Our high enforcement numbers should send a clear message that gatherings will not be tolerated and our teams will be out again this weekend responding to calls of those who continue to flout the emergency order," said Carter on Friday.

"Anyone thinking of attending a gathering – please don’t risk it. You are putting the health of yourself and others on the line, and you also may also face a fine of $750 if police attend. Please stay home and stay safe."

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil

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