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Ontario police refuse order for random COVID stops

Police in cities across Canada's most populous province on Saturday refused to carry out the provincial government order that allows them to make random stops to impose a stay-at-home order as COVID-19 cases soar.

In a Saturday Tweet, the Toronto Police Service said it will (quote) “continue to engage, educate and enforce, but we will not be doing random stops of people or cars.”

Ottawa and at least 21 other municipal police forces said they would not conduct the stops either.

Ontario hit a record number of 4,812 covid cases on Friday, and projections indicate cases could spike to 10,000 per day in June without more health restrictions.

Premier Doug Ford, under fire for his handling of Ontario’s pandemic response, on Friday gave police the authority to stop anyone to ask them their reason for leaving home, and to ticket them if in breach of the rules.

Ford also said he would block non-essential travel from neighboring provinces starting Monday... and Ontario’s Provincial Police said they were preparing to enforce that.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said the federal government would help hard-hit Toronto:

“In Toronto, in particular, numbers are breaking record after record as ICU hospital beds are filling up. There's no doubt that Canada's largest city is struggling under the weight of this third wave. So we're going to do whatever it takes to help.”

Ford on Friday blamed the federal government for the third wave, saying it had been too slow to ramp up vaccinations and too lenient at the borders.