On January 12, 2021, the Ontario government declared a second state of emergency under section 7.0. of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA). This emergency declaration comes as a consequence of the alarmingly high rates of COVID-19 throughout the province, as well as the modeling data that shows the projected increasing rates of infection in Ontario without intervention. In conjunction with the state of emergency, the provincial government has also issued a stay-at-home order, effective at 12:01 am, January 14, 2021, for 28 days. This follows Quebec’s decision to implement a provincial curfew, which is currently in effect until February 8, 2021.
As the spread of COVID-19 continues, the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) is concerned that these extraordinary measures will disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities. Many members of our communities are essential workers; this includes grocery store clerks, individuals who work in delivery services, and personal support workers, to name a few. Because these individuals are on the front lines of this pandemic, they are not only at a higher risk to contract the virus through exposure, they are also at a higher risk to interact with law enforcement who have been given the legal authority to enforce these emergency measures.