Couple plead guilty after allegedly chartering a flight to the Yukon to bypass the BC queue – –

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British Columbia couple charged with skipping COVID-19 vaccine queue by chartering plane to Yukon in court next month – fr


VANCOUVER – A plea has been filed in the case of a British Columbia couple accused of chartering a flight to a remote Yukon community to get the COVID-19 vaccine before being eligible in their home province. ‘origin.

Rod Baker, a former CEO of a games company, and his wife, Ekaterina, pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Whitehorse courtroom.

The bakers had been accused under the territory’s Civil Emergency Measures Act of failing to self-isolate and failing to comply with an entry declaration form. Each was ordered to pay a total of $ 1,150, a financial penalty proposed in a joint Crown and defense submission.

The amount is the maximum fine of $ 500 per count they were charged with, plus a victim fine surcharge of $ 75 per count, and each was charged with two counts under the law.

The judge called their actions premeditated, cavalier and reckless, and accepted the sentence.

The court heard they also each donated $ 5,000 to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX, a global effort to ensure equitable access to doses.

The Crown says the couple flew on a chartered plane to the small community of Beaver Creek, about a 30-minute drive from the Alaskan border, in January.

It is alleged that the purpose of this trip was for the couple to get their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines early, as they were not yet eligible under BC’s age-based schedule.

Officials say the couple were posing as hotel workers at the time, in order to qualify for the shot.

They were arrested at the airport as they tried to return home, those involved in the investigation said.

Baker, who was making millions of dollars working at the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, according to a 2019 figure, resigned from the Toronto-based company days after the allegations were made public.

The allegations have caught the attention of health officials and the general public, as well as BC Premier John Horgan.

At a press conference in January, the Prime Minister called the wealthy couple’s alleged actions “offensive” and “about as little Canadian as possible.”

As to when they would receive their second dose of the vaccine, the British Columbia Ministry of Health said at the time that there was “no room” in its system for people who deliberately skipped the vaccine. online, and that they would not be able to make an appointment. in the province until others in their age group are eligible for this dose.

BC’s top doctor, who has led the province’s fight against COVID-19, said if the allegations were true the Bakers should be “ashamed”.

“They are putting a community at risk for their own benefit, and that, to me, is appalling,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.

With files from Bhinder Sajan of CTV News Vancouver in Victoria and Sara Connors of APTN in Whitehorse

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