Last updated: April 24, 2020 at 12:45 p.m.

The response to the current COVID-19 pandemic around the world has been dynamic and based on the best advice from public health experts. New legislation and bylaws have been put in place which have not existed in the past.

Mayor John Tory Emergency Order & By-law

Mayor John Tory signed an emergency order No. 1 (April 1) and emergency order No. 2 (April 3) regulating physical distancing 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 receive a $1,000 ticket – the maximum set fine available. Officers could issue higher tickets that would be subject to the courts where fines could go up to $5,000 upon conviction.


A COVID-19 Enforcement Team will enforce:

  • the physical distancing by-law (By-law 322-2020);
  • provincial orders banning organized social gatherings of more than five people;
  • bans on using closed playgrounds and other parks amenities;
  • the closure orders on non-essential businesses that remain open, and
  • the requirement that short-term rentals are only provided to individuals in need of housing during the emergency period.

Fines for violating a provincial order under the Emergency Measures Act can range from $750 to $100,000, including up to one year in jail.

The enforcement team will be responding to complaints and proactively patrolling parks and other public spaces, in an effort to ensure public understanding of the need to limit social interactions.

Learn about the closure of amenities in parks.

Medical Officer of Health Directive & Class Order

On April 1, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health issued new directives to residents of Toronto:

  • The following individuals are ordered by the Medical Officer of Health, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, to self-isolate (at home or in an isolation facility) for 14 days:
    • All individuals with COVID-19 who are not hospitalized;
    • All individuals with signs and symptoms of COVID-19, or who are waiting for their test results; and
    • All individuals who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or has the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Anyone who is not ill or has not travelled, is strongly directed to stay home except for the following reasons:
    • accessing healthcare or medication
    • shopping for groceries once per week
    • walking their dogs
    • getting daily exercise while maintaining physical distancing of at least two metres
  • People returning from international travel must stay home (an existing federal order)

Anyone over the age of 70, as the Province announced, is strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible.


How to Dispute a Ticket

If you feel that you were wrongly ticketed, you have the option of requesting an early resolution meeting with a prosecutor and challenging it in court. You can do this by:

  • requesting an early resolution meeting: you can go online, or mailing in a request for an early resolution meeting. While the Courts are currently closed, once they reopen you will be notified by mail of your early resolution date and details of where to attend. If the meeting with a prosecutor does not result in a resolution, the matter will be set down for trial at a later date.
  • requesting a trial: all limitations periods and the time to request a trial have been temporarily suspended with the closure of the Courts. Once the City’s Court Services offices reopen you can visit one of their offices to file a request for a trial.

Once the trial date is scheduled, you will receive a notice by mail of the time and place for your trial. The Court will conduct a trial to decide whether you committed the offence that gave rise to the ticket being issued.