New, mandatory COVID-19 restrictions welcomed by City, stage set for more enforcement

November 25, 2020

City of Edmonton leaders have welcomed new, mandatory rules from the Province of Alberta aimed at stopping the spread  resurgence of COVID-19.

“The mandatory restrictions are stop signs meant to force immediate behavior change,” said Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin. 

“They are tough measures to interrupt the surge of cases,” Laughlin said. “If we don’t stop and bend the curve, we risk the same or even stricter measures during the holiday season.”

Both Laughlin and Mayor Don Iveson applauded signals from the Province that municipal peace officers may soon be able to help enforce the temporary mandatory restrictions announced on November 24. 

“We welcome the opportunity to support the province by, hopefully, adding our peace officers to enforcement processes, again, pending the approval of the Province,” said Laughlin. 

Where to go with complaints
While details about any peace officer enforcement is worked out, there are two main avenues for people to use to log complaints about public health restrictions not being followed.

If the complaint is about face coverings or physical distancing not being respected, use the forms at the bottom of the City of Edmonton online portal.  

If the complaint is about public health order violations, including self-isolation, social gatherings, workplaces or businesses, use the Alberta Health Services online form or call 1-833-415-9179. 

The Province has said complaints that require an immediate response may also be reported to a local police service through the non-emergency phone line.

Mayor Don Iveson with translator Kevin Colp, City Hall, November 25, 2020.

How to consider complaints
The question of enforcement of public health rules was also on the minds of news reporters who asked questions in a news conference live streamed from City Hall in Edmonton.

Mayor Don Iveson was asked for his advice to Edmontonians about how best to consider and then escalate a complaint. 

Start with humanity
The Mayor said to start with humanity and the benefit of the doubt for those who appear to be acting improperly. 

“I personally think society and community is at its strongest when we approach each other with compassion and the benefit of the doubt, the same way our bylaw officers would come to someone who is not complying with a rule that seems obvious to others,” Iveson said. 

The Mayor said there may be language barriers, cultural factors or plain misunderstandings behind the other person or people’s actions. 

“I would just suggest that Edmontonians are at their best when they start from that place and then enlist the right authorities to escalate it appropriately from there with compassion but then with the appropriate urgency.” 

City programs, services
Laughlin said the new provincial rules are broad and complex and will require time to determine how they might affect City of Edmonton programs and services. 

As that information is determined it will be updated through City announcements and on edmonton.ca/COVID-19.

“We urge Edmontonians to do their part and adhere to these new rules,” said Laughlin.