Calgary city council will debate boosting the fine for failing to mask up from $50 to $100.
The matter will come before council at Monday’s meeting, as they try to push mask bylaw compliance among Calgarians.
On Thursday, the city said since Dec. 2 it had issued six tickets for failing to wear a mask. Total tickets issued under the Public Health Act since Nov. 24 (the first set of provincial restrictions) is 11.
“We will continue to focus on enforcement where people are clearly disregarding compliance,” said Chief Bylaw Officer, Ryan Pleckaitis.
“The actions we take today and over the coming weeks will bear significant impact on the safety of us all – while we have done a great deal of education, The Province has made it clear that there must be a consequence to putting other people at risk.”
The province implemented a mandatory mask bylaw for all indoor public places, including workplaces and places of worship.
Flexibility is key, said Mayor Nenshi
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Thursday that he believed it would be an interesting debate on Monday.
“I think don’t think that the proponents would mind me telling you that the person who made the amendment to change it from 100 to 50 now wants it to be much more than 100,” the mayor said.
He said it’s still out of sync with the provincial orders. Provincial public health orders allow for a $1,000 fine and a $200 victim fee.
“What I’m looking for here is, is there a way that we can give our officers flexibility so that most of the time I forgot it in the car, well, go get it and you’re not going to get a ticket,” the mayor said.
The mayor was interested to see if there was a way to first ticket people the $50, and if they were being flagrantly abusive of the bylaw they could write a much steeper ticket.
“Maybe that could be one way of dealing with people who repeatedly turn up to a rally on Saturday afternoon,” Mayor Nenshi said.
The proposed bylaw does call for escalating fines if a person is a repeat offender within 12 months. For a second offense the fine could be doubled (to a proposed $200), and then tripled on third offense.
The fine for businesses failing to post a mandatory masking sign is $200.