What is the law?

On March 31st, the Ontario government passed an order (O Reg 114/20) under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) that gives police and all provincial offenses officers the power to require anyone they think is breaking emergency laws to show them identification (ID).

This gives massive new powers to law enforcement. In addition to police, any provincial offenses officers including some municipal bylaw officers, campus officers, TTC and other transportation constables, community housing constables, public health officers, and others can now require people to carry and produce ID with their correct name, date of birth, and address on request. It also allows these officers to charge and fine you for not giving them your ID.  If you don’t correctly identify yourself you can now get a fine of $750 for “Failure to Comply” or $1,000 for obstructing the officer.  

In addition, the City of Toronto signed emergency order No. 1 (on April 1) and emergency order No. 2 (on April 3) to create new physical distancing rules in City of Toronto parks and public squares. Any two people who don’t live together, who fail to keep two metres of distance between them in a park or public square, can get a $1,000 ticket – the maximum set fine available. Officers could issue higher tickets where courts can rule on fines of  up to $5,000 upon conviction. Many other municipalities have done the same.

This order is dangerous for many reasons.

First, it increases the risk of police and other officers abusing their powers.  It makes it possible for a much larger number of law enforcement officers to give tickets and to stop and harass people in public on arbitrary suspicion of breaking emergency laws.

Second, like carding or street checks, it can mean racial profiling and an increased risk of arrest and detention. Basically, it gives many law enforcement officers an excuse to stop and question people for whatever reason they want. This is particularly dangerous for Black and Indigenous communities and raises the risk that migrants can be stopped, arrested, and detained for immigration reasons by police or other law enforcement officers. In fact, at this time, essentially the only way someone can end up being detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is if the police arrest someone and then call them (CBSA, which carries out immigration detentions and deportations is not doing proactive investigations or arrests due to the crisis). This order greatly increases the number of interactions with frontline law enforcement on issues of identification, which in turn greatly increases the risk of CBSA being called.

Thirdly, because many non-status migrants – especially poor and/or under-housed migrants – do not even have identification, they may end up arrested or fined as a result. For example, when a person makes a refugee claim, their Identification documents are taken by CBSA. Though they are usually given a temporary identification, it expires in a short period and can’t be renewed. As well, it is often very hard for homeless people in shelters (including those who are not migrants) to get or hold on to ID.

Finally, this order is bad for public health. It means that migrant workers, who are already the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis and who must often continue working in essential services, are driven further underground and face greater challenges in accessing critical transportation, health, and housing services. COVID-19 is spreading quickly in courts, jails and immigration detention centres and orders forcing people to show their ID will make the spread even worse, putting many lives at risk.

We must work together to fight this unfair order!

Additionally, doctors and other healthcare workers have expressed concerns that these powers will not assist public health but will actually make things worse:


"Increasing police powers under the guise of emergency measures for COVID19, has no bearing upon safeguarding the health of people living in Canada. Rather, it is simply an extension of colonial oppression and White Supremacy, that remain the foundations of this country. It will target those whose privileges do not extend to citizenship, residency, or the means to self-isolate, or work from home, yet whose labour is critical to the economic well-being of this land.  It is a wasteful use of resources that would be much better used to provide housing, paid sick leave, living wages, and health care for all."

Dr. Jim Sugiyama, a physician with extensive experience providing healthcare for migrants and refugees, including those with precarious immigration status in Toronto


"The clients I work with are already disproportionately impacted by policing and are already starting to experience heightened racial profiling by police under COVID19. I witness the negative health impacts of criminalization against poor and racialized people daily. Increasing police and punitive enforcement will not protect public health but it will threaten the health and safety of people, especially Indigenous, Black and other racialized people, those with precarious immigration status, sex workers, drug users and those experiencing homelessness. If these measures go through, it will be made very clear who the government does and doesn't consider as part of the "public" in public health."

Dr. Nanky Rai, a family physician working closely with people experiencing homelessness and people who use drugs in Toronto.


It is important for us to work together to fight against expanded police powers. We cannot police ourselves out of this public health crisis! Instead of turning against each other through community surveillance and policing and turning against those most vulnerable, we require solidarity-based approaches that enable us to support each other through this crisis. We must especially provide the missing support and resources for physical distancing to groups who do not have such privilege – the poor, the racialized, the marginalized.

Urge the Ontario government to immediately rescind O Reg 114/20 and municipal governments to stop punitive policing measures against marginalized communities immediately!

We are asking you and/or your organization to sign on to this letter, it will be sent to the Ontario Provincial and City of Toronto Government asking them to stop this unjust order!

Name             Organization                                                        
Vincent Wong                   International Human Rights Program at University of Toronto  
Mac Scott                         Ontario Coalition Against Poverty  
Elene Lam                         Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network)    
Nikisha Khare              No One Is Illegal
Kate Shao
Kelly Lui
Christine Swearing
Jessica Hales              Street Health
Regine Schmid
Sima Atri                      Social Justice Lawyer
Benjamin Hognestad
Vidhya Elango               No One is Illegal
Harry Au
Kelly Turnbull               OCAP
Anna Willats
Edna Gonzalez               S4 Collective
Sarah Ferland               Elizabeth Fry Toronto
wendy forrest               Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Jonathan Wright               Ontario coalition against poverty
Linda Mussell
Hadley Howes               Queen's University
Angela NP
Lisa Guenther               Queen's University
Serene Kabir
Pearl Leung
Adrienne Mak
Liam Michaud
Destiny Samaroo               The Yonge Street Mission
Kelley Sykes                      The Redwood (VAW shelter)
Justin Kong                      CCNCTO
Lee Fleming
Susie Showers
Stefan Wasylyk
Diana Yoon                      Friends of ChinatownTO
Andrew Woodrow-Butcher
Blake Reátegui              Climate Justice Peel, FOOD @ COP/Zero Hour Ambassadors
Anjum Sultana              Millennial Womxn In Policy
Charlotte Zhang
Dr. Katie Hemsworth       Nipissing University
AJ B                              Caremongering in Peel
Anjum Sultana              Millennial Womxn In Policy
Madeleine Ritts
Tave Cole                      Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre
JIm Sugiyama              Taddle Creek Family Health Team
uswa habib
Stefan Baral                      Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Roxie Danielson               Street Nurses Network
Clinton Reid                      Collective Impact
Bining, Ramndeep       Truck Drivers During Coronavirus
James Franze
Jen Ko
Daniel Gruetter
Bushra Asghar
Arianne Di nardo
Priya prabhakar
Maureen Gans
Cathy Crowe               Shelter and Housing Justice Network
Dallas Jokic
Kathryn Tait
renee nadeau               individual
Thomas Man
Edward Wong               CCNCTO/Tkaronto (Toronto) Mutual Aid/Lausan
Tanya Aberman               Sanctuary Students Solidarity & Support Collective
Sarah Ford                       University of Toronto
Graeme Bacque
Nisha Kansal
Akuah Frempong               Climate Justice Toronto
Laura St Amant
Jed Anderson
Adam Willett
Scooter Jay
Iain Campbell
Jacqueline Vincent, MD   University of Toronto
Arianne Di Nardo
Lorraine Chuen                Friends of Chinatown Toronto
Maria Leis                        University of Toronto
Chantal Phillips                U of T's Black Medical Students Association
Shellie Zhang                Friends of Chinatown TO
Brendan Arnott
Sujay Nagaraj                U of T

Helena Kita
Anne-Emanuelle Birn
Marjorie Francis                SRCHC
Leigha Petrone
Alissa Trotz                        University of Toronto
Felicia Tai                        University of Toronto
Griffin Epstein
Abeer Majeed
Fitsum Areguy                 African, Caribbean and Black Network of Waterloo Region
Amanda Whitten                 Family Physician
Semir Bulle                        Black Medical Students’ Association
Randy Davis
Laura Rafferty
Helen Zenf                        University of Toronto
Agnieszka Forfa
Ellie Ade Kur
Mark Robert Brill
Beric German
Alessandra Ceccacci          UofT Medicine
Mei-ling Wiedmeyer
Shavonne Somvong
Katarina Bogosavljevic  University of Ottawa
Jayoti Rana
Sarah Khan
Anne Wong
Andy Afenu                         University of Toronto
Ashna Parbhakar
Alex McClelland                 University of Ottawa
Zoë Dodd                        Toronto Overdose Prevention Sociery
Anna Lippman
Taylor Jordan
Kate Atkinson
Bob Rose                        Parkdale Eviction Resistance Network
Jose Moreno
Tarek Ibrahim                 UofT Faculty of Medicine
anne egger                         Nurse Practitioner
Brendan Chan                 Democratic Socialists of America - Libertarian Socialist Caucus
Simran Dhunna                 CareMongering Peel
Jesse Ravindran
Melissa Mae-Ng
Bri Vermeer
Shiyana Alexandra Hunter
Adrienne Mak
Hayley Smuts                   Sherbourne Health
Shawna Howe
Smita Pakhale                   Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Iye n Sanneh                          st.stephens/street health/fred victor/blackcap/capud/thra
Bob Rose                          Parkdale Eviction Resistance Network
Nanky Rai                          Family Physician in Toronto
Chris Spiess
Alexandra Liu                  University of Toronto, School of Medicine
Nicholas Wong
Claire Bodkin
Lisa Nussey                          Keeping Six
Jodi Koberinski                  Earth Education League
Sarah Griffiths                  MD
Emma Nelson
Alanna Dickinson
Mita Hans                          CareMongering-TO
Bilal Bagha
Padmaja Sreeram
Farah Shroff
Sid Drmay
meg feheley
Lesley Wood                          York University, Department of Sociology
Lex Burgoyne                   OCAD Student Union
Catherina                          Torontonian
Colleen Cameron           PHM Canada
Joyce Arthur                   FIRST Decriminalize Sex Work
Geoffrey Sem                   University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
Cynthia Wright
Suzanne Shoush                   Indigenous Family Physician, University of Toronto
Alex Tigchelaar                   Concordia University
Kapri Rabin                           Street Health Community Nursing Foundation
Audrey Huntley                   No More Silence
Vivian Leung                   University of Toronto
Rhonda Sussman           Communist Party of Canada
Jamie Magnusson           University of Toronto
Danica Drago
Mariajosé Aguilera
Jessica Arteaga
Alannah Fricker                   Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Ryerson
Anit Saini
muna dahir                          queen’s university
Madeleine Deschenes   Student at UofT Med
Sara E Garnett                  Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance
Nasim Asgari
graham jordan
Marzian Alam
Suleka Ismail
Saima Khan
Jessica Evans                  Assistant Professor (LTF) Ryerson Universtiy
Gunjan Chopra                  People's Healing Fund, Toronto/Tkaronto Mutual Aid
Melanie Carrington
Louis esmé
Sylvia Grady
Dennis Morrison             Tech maintenance
Alec Butler                          University of Toronto
S Swartz                          Showing Up for Racial Justice - Toronto
Jessica Lyons                  RN
Asha Bruce
Melanie Spence                  Registered Nurse
Catherine Jeffery
Jamilla Mohamud
Craig Fortier                         Department of Social Development Studies, University of Waterloo
Ian Reynolds
Sherry Ostapovitch
Nicola Gailits                  University of Toronto
Ahmad Faisal Qaderi           Regent Park CHC
Trish Starling                  University of Toronto
Leah Watkiss                  Collaborative Network to End Exploitation
johanna lewis                  SURJ Toronto // York University
Alex Mlynek                          SURJ Toronto
Priscila Tchorbadjian           SURJ
Samantha Spady
Laura McKinley                   York University
Sarah Gayman
Tom Malleson                   SURJ Toronto // King's University College at Western University
Alexandra Florescu
Rhiannon Thomas           COUNTERfit Harm Reduction Program
Monisha Persaud           U of T Medicine
Gary Kinsmaan                  Professor Emeritus, Lauentian University
Khalood Kibria                  University of Toronto
Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform
Elizabeth Prowell
Varka Kalaydzhieva
Jett Graham-Laberge
Shannon Tran
Cindy Tran                          York University
Kate Werneburg
Jelena Vermilion                   Sex Workers' Action Program of Hamilton
SWAN Waterloo                   Sex Workers' Action Network of Waterloo Region
Hilary Stone                          University of Toronto
Luke Barton Veljkovic    TBLGAY volunteer
Anna Chen                          University of Toronto
Kenya Costa-Dookhan   University of Toronto
Matteo L. Cerilli                   TBLGAY
Emma McCallum
Jasmine Duong                   TBLGAY
Victor Hua TBLGAY
Claudyne Chevrier           SWWAC
Bess Jarvis
Jennifer Lebel
Andrea Chen
Cheryl Auger
Ushma Purohit                   University of Toronto
Diana Kurtzer
Petra Molnar                   International Human Rights Program, University of Toronto
Zach Sommers
Lee Berkowitz                   SURJ Toronto
Mary Williams
Tatiana Wugalter                   Showing Up for Racial Justice - Toronto
LeRoi Newbold                   FreedomSchool - Toronto
Madelina                           Citizen
Kelly White                           Street Health Overdose Prevention Site
Chandni Desai                   University of Toronto
Christine Wu                           York University
Amy Venner                           ACCKWA (The AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Area)
Cornelius Talmadge
Kiké Roach                           Unifor Chair in Social Justice & Democracy, Ryerson
Lauren Moses-Brettler    Up With Women
Marion Roberts                   Street Health Community Nursing Foundation
Sukhpreet Sangha            Esq.
Anne-Marie Singh           Ryerson University
Johanna Macdonald           Parkdale Community Legal Services
Graham Hudson                   Ryerson University
Karalyn Reuben
Annette Bailey                   Ryerson University
Paula Bourque
Carol Sutherland                   Vice President Services and Finance, Continuing Education Students Union Ryerson
Tania Ruiz-Chapman
Judy Rebick
Donelle Fraser                   Showing Up for Racial Justice
b.h. Yael                           Professor, OCAD University
Carolina Jimenez
Shani K Parsons
Debbie Douglas                    OCASI- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Jack Ditommaso
Nneka MacGregor            WomenatthecentrE
Faisa M
Dagoberto Contreras
Emily Kovacs                   Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre
Randa Meshki                   COPA
Shalini Konanur                   South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
Reed Siemieniuk
Mandi Gray                           PhD Candidate, York University
Moy Wong-Tam                   Centre for Immigrant and Community Services
Angela Hou
Sasha Hoffman                   University of Toronto
Bella Lyne                           Climate Justice Toronto
A.W. Peet                           University of Toronto
Yollande                           YDMP consulting
Charlie Jupp-Adams
Gini Dickie
Alexa Kirkland
Valerian Marochko            London Cross Cultural Learner Centre
Gwyneth Mitchell
Aina-Nia Ayo’dele            Sacred Women International
Martha O’Brien                    Fred Victor/Street Health
Nicolas Di Lollo                    SURJ Toronto
Amanda T Murphy
Joyce Rankin                   Street Health
Sabrina Morrison            Ribbon Rouge - African, Caribbean Black Caucus of Alberta
Dr. James Deutsch            University of Toronto
Emily Rourke
Sephton Spence                    Kubbie construction
Ninotchka Sequeira            Independent Mental Health/social worker/therapist
Saint-Phard Desir            CESOC
Mary-Jo Nadeau                    Toronto resident
Zoe Medland                    Habitat services
Jin Haritaworn                    York University
Richard Fung
Sonja Anderson
Shawn                                   Working on it
Richard Fung
Avvy Go                                   Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Renee Dumaresque             SURJ Toronto// York University
Annette Bazira-Okafor     University of Toronto
Emily Hill
Rob Howarth                    Toronto Neighbourhood Centres
Rachel Miuehrer                    Showing up for Racial Justice - Toronto
marcie ponte
Noam Lapid                            Street Nurses Network
Kayla Couture
Dr. Trevor Morey
Emily Schepers
Melissa Singh                     York University
Alina Chatterjee                     Scadding Court Community Centre
Josefina Perez-Rengifo
Amy Soberano                     Social Worker
Abrah McKeen                     350 Toronto
Jillien Hone                            Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre
Cynthia du Mont                    West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre
Charlotte  Horiatellis             Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre
Sharmini Fernando             Syme Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre
 Beth Jordan
Joan Jothi Saldanha             Jothi Creative Wellness Inc.
Prabha Khosla                     ReFocus Consulting
Camille Turner                     York University PhD candidate
Tamam McCallum
Arlene Moscovitch
Malini Singh                             TNO-The Neighbourhood Organization
John Campey                     Ralph Thornton Community Centre
Benny Swive
Sameena Eidoo                     University of Toronto
Jenny Carson                     Ryerson University
Nicola Alexis-Brooks
Tim McCaskell
Mathura Karunanithy n/a
Maya Roy                             YWCA Canada
Julie Chamberlain              York University
Amy de Nobriga
EDMUND FRYE                     Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre
Greg Andre-Barrett              Retired
Vera Callaghan                     Mrs.
Anke Heiser
Deena Ladd                             Workers' Action Centre
Mike Hoolboom
Sedina Fiati
Jennie Vengris                     McMaster University
Adrien Hall
Sandra Ka Hon Chu
Janine Manning
Pam Frache                             Fight for $15 and Fairness
Matthew McGarr                      University of Toronto Medical School
Dr. Tope Adefarakan              Independent
Nicholas Carverhill
Sané Dube                             Alliance For Healthier Communities
Kendall Mar                             Fridays For Future Toronto
Sundus Zuberi                      University of Toronto
Katherine Walker-Jones
Nicole Penak                      York University
Fizza Mir
Mackenzie Kinmond              Social Worker
Lahoma Thomas              Ryerson University
Gillian Graham                      A Primary Health Care Provider and concerned citizen
Assiatou Diallo                     TAAB Community Care
Anna Marie Hubbard
Joel Hentges
Laura Peberdy                     University of Toronto / Food courier
Corine Hibbert-Samuels
O. Soyinka
Gwen Deegan
Darien Taylor
Shine Jiyoun Chung             Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth
Rick Kelly                            Just Us: A Centre for Restorative Practices
Emma Palumbo
Ken Moffatt                            Jack Layton Chair, Ryerson University
Nigel Carvalho                     York University
Polo Lonergan                     We Are Oshawa
Stephanie Holko
Chelsea Braun                     RN
Brian Champ           
Shaina Agbayani                     Rootcare
John Liss
Maïna Béland-Rahm
Oskar Eliashevsky             Women’s College Hospital
Michiko Bown-Kai             The United Church of Canada
Cara Gold
Jules Vodarek Hunter     SURJ Toronto
Ahmahkyah Malcolm-Witter  City of Toronto
Emily Johnson
Jennifer Stone                     Neighbourhood Legal Services
Barry Weisleder                     Socialist Action
Laurie Lee-Glover             University of Toronto
Mary Gellatly                     Parkdale Community Legal Services
Nick De Carlo                     Retired
Ines Rios                            Immigrants Working Centre
Nancy LaPlante
Melissa Jean-Baptiste Vajda Kensington Bellwoods Community Legal Services
Mosa McNeilly
Justin Sawyer AVI Victoria
Cynthia Nomanee
Grayson Alabiso-Cahill
Emily Sadowski
Dani Pacey SURJ Toronto
Robert Ridgway
Marty Fink Ryerson Univeristy
Anna R Trowbridge
Sasha Tate-Howarth SURJ Toronto
Paulysha De Gannes
Erin Baird York University
anne egger Nurse Practitioner
Debbie Watson Concerned citizen
John Baumann
Tariq Amin-Khan Ryerson University
Sarah Wayland HIPC
Don Seymour Wesley Hamilton
Kojo Damptey Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion
Jacqui Gingras Dept. of Sociology, Ryerson University
Justin Barca
Sharon Floyd Interim Place
Kemba King
L Pitchford
Kai Ip Wong Asian Community AIDS Services
John M. Darling Member Ontario New Democratic Party
Randy Roberts Brantford Substance Users Network
Zahir Kolia Ryerson University
Lynn Lavallee Ryerson University
Hugh Tye Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
Kathy Wang
Catherine Macdonald Alliance for Healthier Communities
Matthew Teghtmeyer
Keli Bellaire
Anne Gloger East Scarborough Storefront
Umema Sharafali
Nisha Kansal OHIP for All
Beth Helmers Community Arts Guild
Dana Gore Registered Nurse
Loubert Richard
Kojo Damptey Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion
Lindsay Snow Algonquin College
Arnav Agarwal
freygl gertsovski
Simone Rosenberg

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