Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ottawa Police end 24/7 presence at Quebec crossings

Ottawa Police have announced that effective April 20th at 8 p.m., the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) will no longer maintain a 24/7 presence at interprovincial crossings (bridges and ferries).

Instead, the OPS will deploy officers on a rotating schedule of checkpoints moving throughout all City of Ottawa interprovincial crossings on a daily basis, until the expiry of the Provincial Order.

“It was a shit-show,” says one government worker who asked not to be named. “Traffic was lined up for hours at the Gatineau Bridge, the line-ups stretched back kilometers.

“It would be bad enough if you worked in Ottawa and had to get to a building in Hull, but a lot of people live in Gatineau and drive to Ottawa every day; those people were just sitting in their vehicles for hours. So everybody knew, everybody is going to be late. Everybody.”

Since the onset of the border operations, the OPS noted in its 6:40pm media release, it has been working closely with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) along with local stakeholders and interprovincial stakeholders (the City of Ottawa, the City of Gatineau, the Ontario Provincial Police, etc.) to assess any local public health, traffic and safety impacts.

The assessment resulted in today’s operational changes.

“We have been and will remain focused on our stated goal of ensuring our education, engagement and enforcement actions support improved public health outcomes and respect the concerns of our most marginalized and racialized communities all while enabling compliance with the Provincial Order restricting interprovincial travel,” the OPS release states.

“The operational changes announced today are designed to better ensure the health and safety of all, to minimize delays and/or hazards for travelers and to ensure essential workers can get to their places of employment on time.”

Who should cross the interprovincial border: OPS

“This is a reminder that the circumstances for which a person can travel into Ontario from Quebec, per the Ontario government directives, include:

  • the person’s principal residence is in Ontario
  • the person is travelling to perform work in Ontario
  • the person is transporting goods into or through Ontario as part of the operation of a business that involves the transportation of goods
  • the person is travelling into Ontario for the purpose of exercising an Aboriginal or treaty right
  • the person’s health makes it necessary to travel into Ontario to obtain health care or social services
  • the travel is necessary for a humanitarian or compassionate reason

Beyond identification to operate a motor vehicle, there are no requirements for travellers to provide documentation to officers such as a note from an employer or physician. Individuals will be required to provide their name, address and reason for travelling.”