Last updated: October 29, 2020 at 11:58 a.m.

Informed by the best advice from Toronto Public Health and other public health experts, the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario have enacted legislation to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The enforcement of these public health bylaws and orders continues to be a priority for the City of Toronto.

Under the temporary physical distancing bylaws, people who are not from the same household must maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) apart in a park, beach or public square. The fines for failing to practise physical distancing in a park, beach or public square range from a ticket for $1000 up to a maximum of $5000.

Start: April 2020 through Emergency Order No. 1 and Emergency Order No. 2 signed by Mayor John Tory

End: On September 30, 2020, City Council voted to extend the temporary bylaw until January 2021

Legislation: temporary amendments to Municipal Code Chapter 608, Parks, and Chapter 636, Public Squares required by the Mayor’s two emergency orders were implemented by City of Toronto By-law 322-2020 and By-law 323-2020

The Province of Ontario implemented regulations on the mandatory wearing of a mask or face covering through Ontario Regulation 364/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 3) and Ontario Regulation 263/20 (Rules for Areas in Stage 2) made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.

Under the Reopening Ontario Act, the use of masks or face coverings is mandatory in all public indoor settings across Ontario, such as businesses, facilities, workplaces, and the common areas of apartment buildings, condominiums, and shelters with limited exemptions, including corrections and developmental services. Wearing a mask or face covering is also mandatory in a vehicle that is operated as part of a business or organization.  Full details about the mandatory mask or face coverings regulation including exemptions, are available on the Province of Ontario website.

The Province of Ontario regulation on mandatory mask or face covering use goes beyond the requirements of the City of Toronto By-law 541-2020 and City of Toronto By-law 542-2020 amending Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 354, Apartment Buildings that require a mask or face covering to be worn in all indoor public spaces in Toronto and in common areas in apartments and condominiums.

While the City of Toronto bylaws remain in effect, the City enforcement team will also enforce the stricter requirements of the Stage 2 Regulation and Stage 3 Regulation made under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Under the Reopening Ontario Act, following a conviction, the Court may impose the following fines and penalties:

  • An individual is subject to a fine of not more than $100,000 and for a term of imprisonment of not more than one year;
  • An individual who is an officer or director of a corporation is subject to a fine of not more than $500,000 and for a term of imprisonment of not more than one year, and
  • A corporation is subject to a fine of not more than $10,000,000.

Food & Drink Establishment Restrictions under the Reopening Ontario Act

On October 9, 2020, the Province announced new food and drink restrictions designed to curb COVID-19 spread under the Province of Ontario’s Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA). As of 12:01 a.m. on October 10, indoor service at food and drink establishments, including bars, restaurants and food courts, is suspended for at least 28 days. Learn more from the Province’s Reopening Ontario in stages web page.

Delivery, take out and outdoor dining remain available, subject to provincial orders and City bylaws.

Food & Drink Establishment Municipal Code Amendments

Note: As of October 10, 2020, Municipal Code amendments for indoor service at food and drink establishments are superseded by Province of Ontario orders under the Reopening Ontario Act that prohibit indoor dining. Municipal Code amendments remain in force for outdoor service at food and drink establishments.

Municipal Code amendments related to food and drink establishments require owners or operators to implement a number of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The fine for non-compliance is $1000.

On September 30, City Council voted unanimously in favour of strengthened regulations in food and drink establishments to help stop the resurgence of COVID-19. As of October 8, restaurant, bar and other food and drink owners or operators are responsible for:

  • Ensuring all customers remain seated at all times except when entering or exiting, using the washroom, or paying
  • Separating tables by at least two metres (six feet) or having plexiglass or other impermeable barriers separating them
  • Maintaining customer logs that include the names and contact information for each patron
  • Keeping customer logs for 30 days, providing logs to Toronto Public Health upon request for contact tracing purposes, and securely discarding after 30 days
  • Posting signage at all entrances to the premises to identify the necessity of keeping customer logs for contact tracing purposes
  • Establishing staff screening protocols
  • Limiting the number of customers who may be seated at the same table, to a maximum of six customers per table
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of amenities, equipment, and devices as necessary
  • Keep background music and any other background sounds, such as from televisions or other electronic sound producing devices, no louder than the volume of normal conversation

Start: August 2020

End: On September 30, 2020, City Council voted to extend the temporary bylaw until January 2021

Legislation: City of Toronto By-law 665-2020 amending Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545, Licensing

Through a Class Order issued by the Medical Officer of Health, individuals who have COVID-19 who are not hospitalized, who have symptoms and are waiting for test results, or who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or has the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are ordered to self-isolate at home or in an isolation facility for 14 days. Failure to comply with the order is subject to a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

Anyone who is not subject to the Class Order or has not recently returned from travel, is strongly directed to avoid non-essential trips in the community and avoid close contact with others. For more information, read the Class Order fact sheet.

Start: April 2020

End: no set end date

Legislation: Class Order under the Government of Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act

On October 9, 2020, the Province announced new restrictions designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our community under the Province of Ontario’s Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act (ROA).

The orders, which come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on October 10 and will be in place for at least 28 days include:

  • Gatherings: Limiting all social gatherings and organized public events to a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Indoor dining: Prohibiting indoor food and drink service in restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments
  • Business closures:
    • Indoor gym and fitness centres (i.e. yoga and dance studios)
    • Casinos, bingo halls and gambling establishments
    • Cinemas
    • Performing arts centres and venues
    • Spectator areas in racing venues
    • Interactive exhibits or exhibits with high risk of personal contact in museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, etc.
  • Personal care settings: Prohibiting personal care services where masks or face coverings must be removed for the service
  • Sports teams: Limiting sports teams to training sessions; games and scrimmages are prohibited

Fines for individual organizers of events that violate gathering rules are a minimum of $10,000. Fines for those attending are $750. Additional fines for violating provincial orders can range from $750 to $100,000, including up to one year in jail, and $10,000,000 for a corporation. Learn more from the Province’s Reopening Ontario in stages web page.

Effective March 25, 2020, a Government of Canada order under the federal Quarantine Act requires all travellers entering Canada to self-quarantine for 14 days. More information is available on the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice web page.

In some cases, people who must quarantine under the federal order may also be subject to the Class Order issued by Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health (for example, people who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and have also recently returned from travel).

Compliance with the Reopening Ontario Act, the Province’s orders and regulations and the City of Toronto bylaws, including restrictions on gathering size, mandatory masks or face coverings and physical distancing, is crucial to stopping the spread of COVID-19. The City’s COVID-19 enforcement team is responsible for ensuring compliance with public health regulations. The team is a joint effort by Municipal Licensing & Standards, Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Toronto Public Health and Toronto Police Service.

Enforcement officers are on patrol across the city at all times and respond to complaints made through 311. Enforcing laws, regardless of the context, is a complicated and complex process. Enforcement requires investigation, the gathering of facts, and the application of often-complicated legal processes.

COVID-19 Enforcement Data

This data provides information based on enforcement activities for the bylaws and orders related to COVID-19. This document will be updated weekly, every Tuesday by 3 p.m.

Please note, data will be reconciled at the end of each month which may result in adjustments to the previously reported weekly figures.

Achieving compliance with public health-related orders and regulations has been a priority for the City of Toronto as it continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Enforcing bylaws is a necessarily complex process that requires investigation, gathering facts and applying legal processes. On a case-by-case basis, the enforcement team works to achieve compliance through education first and enforcement action second. The City recognizes that the public have been asked to significantly adjust their behaviours as requirements and orders have changed throughout the COVID-19 response. This approach provides the public with the opportunity to understand what is being asked first and to comply second.

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: Persons who received a ticket can request an early resolution meeting online using the online Court Case Look Up or by selecting the early resolution meeting option on their ticket and mailing it to the court address indicated on the back of the ticket. The City will send notices of early resolution meetings by mail or email to the address on file with the court. 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: Anyone wanting to dispute a ticket and request a trial can now submit a Notice of Intention to Appear form by email or by mail. This change applies to tickets issued on or after March 1, 2020.

All of the required Provincial Offences Act court forms are available on the City’s website. Completed forms can be emailed to POACourt@toronto.ca or mailed to the address indicated on the back of the ticket.

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.