Hosts of a series of house parties in Brampton in July that drew dozens of people now face fines of up to $ 100,000 for violating COVID-19 distance and collection regulations.
A justice of the peace has subpoenaed 13 people believed to be behind four house parties over the weekend of July 24-27 in Brampton.
Settlements officers initially imposed fines of $ 880 at the scene for failing to comply with an emergency order, but then chose to withdraw those penalties in favor of heavier fines that require a court date.
“We felt this was an important event that required a more severe sanction,” said JP Maurice, director of enforcement at Brampton on Thursday.
“It is now for the justice of the peace to decide, based on the evidence provided, whether it is a fine of $ 500 or up to $ 100,000,” added Maurice.
Officials in charge of summons must now track down each person, some of whom had rented the houses on short-term rental.
Maurice admitted that it might be difficult to find the hosts as some of them were not owners.
Brampton spokeswoman Megan Ball said that from July 24-27, settlements officers visited four separate locations in response to parties at the home who allegedly violated Ontario’s Reopening Act (ROA) and Brampton Regulations.
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said his staff convinced the courts the alleged violations were serious enough to warrant stiffer penalties for the 13.
“They (law enforcement) tried to educate people before they imposed fines,” Brown said Thursday. “If someone has blatantly violated our public health guidelines and puts the whole city at risk, there are legitimate financial consequences for such reckless behavior.”
City staff did not name the 13 people.
One person has been charged with violations of the ROA, public nuisance bylaw and face mask bylaw for a party on Countryside Drive that numbered around 200 people.
One person faces charges for an event that took place at a McHardy Court address, while nine people are charged with ROA violations of an alleged party staged at Albright Drive.
Two people linked to an event at Julian Drive are also facing similar offenses.
Over the last weekend of July, the Julian Drive address was visited for two separate groups. The second time, the police were called after a shooting which left four people injured.
Three of the weekend gatherings were over 100 people, while one had around 50. Peel was then subject to Stage 2 restrictions, which only allowed gatherings of no more than 10 people.
To date, Brampton has accounted for more than half of the 7,564 reported COVID-19 cases in the region of Peel, including 94 of the region’s 327 deaths.
Just over 6,900 of the region’s cases have since recovered, according to the Region of Peel Scoreboard.