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More than 700 COVID-19 related tickets handed out to Nova Scotians

Wayne MacKay is a professor emeritus of constitutional law at Dalhousie University, and says fighting a ticket could cost more than the ticket itself
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Halifax Provincial Court (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

Nova Scotia's Justice Department says as of September 24, police agencies in the province issued more than 715 COVID-19 related tickets. 

In an email, spokesperson Heather Fairbairn says the tickets were written "for failure to comply with sections of the Health Protection Act Orders and the Emergency Management Act directive."

The fines roughly range from about $700 to $1,000 and were handed out for infractions like failing to self-isolate, properly physical distance, or for being in a public place that was closed because of COVID-19. 

Wayne MacKay is a professor emeritus of constitutional law at Dalhousie University. He says the process of challenging a ticket in court is a pricey one. 

"Unfortunately the likely cost, unless you have a pro bono situation with the lawyer, would likely be more than the cost of the ticket itself," he tells NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show. 

He says people are able to represent themselves, but he doesn't recommend it. 

Individuals who choose to fight their tickets despite the cost could raise constitutional arguments, according to MacKay. 

"There was a lack of clarity and detail with some of the rules... like which walkways were open and which were not," he says. "That might well be a Section 7 sort of fair process argument."

MacKay says the government needs to be more clear if Nova Scotia re-introduces rules during a potential second wave. 

"Make sure whatever rules you impose are as clearly stated as possible," he says. "Because there was lots of concern and minicircles in the previous round, partly because it had to be done quickly, that there wasn't enough clarity in the rules."


Katie Hartai

About the Author: Katie Hartai

In addition to being a reporter for NEWS 95.7 and HalifaxToday.ca, Katie is the producer of The Rick Howe Show
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