SASKATOON -- On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan government introduced amendments to the province's emergency planning legislation that increase the amount both people and companies can be fined for non-compliance with emergency orders.

Under the Emergency Planning Amendment Act, the maximum amount a person can be fined for violating an order will rise to $7,500 from $2,000.

For companies, the maximum penalty will increase to $100,000 from $10,000.

"While police will continue to issue tickets for most minor infractions, these more significant fines will act as a deterrent and penalty for those who carry out more serious offences," the province said in news release.

The changes to the planning legislation will also "confirm and clarify protections" from litigation based on COVID-19 transmission "if there has been good-faith compliance with emergency orders and other applicable laws."

However, NDP Leader Ryan Meili said: “It is a strange thing to say that somehow these changes to the act that won’t take place until the spring are a response to what we are dealing with with COVID-19."

The move mirrors similar changes in Ontario and British Columbia, the province said.

“This bill will honour the tremendous efforts of individuals, organizations and businesses that are working on the frontline, while complying with public health rules and requirements,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said in the release.

The new fine amounts are consistent with those which can already be levied under the 1994 Public Health Act for breaching public health orders.

The province said the long-term and large-scale nature of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to update the emergency planning legislation.


A previous version of this story, based on incorrect information from the province, stated the maximum individual fine amount was being raised to $75,000.