FILE – A 3M N95 mask. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

B.C. police can now issue $2,000 tickets for reselling medical supplies, price gouging

Fines can be handed out by police, conservation officers and others

Anyone in B.C. who tries to resell medical supplies or engages in price gouging for essential items could now get a $2,000 ticket.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the new fines on Sunday (April 19). The tickets can be handed out by police, conservation officers and other officers in B.C. starting immediately for as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues. The pandemic has led to 1,647 total test positive cases and 81 deaths in B.C.

“We will not allow these practices to continue, ” Farnworth said.

He said the authorities believe it is largely individuals trying to profit off the COVID-19 pandemic rather than organized crime. Farnworth noted that some fluctuation in price in normal, but gave the example of a mask being sold for $5 one day and $50 the next as price gouging that would not be tolerated. In a statement, the province said tickets were a “timelier alternative” to pursuing legal action through the courts.

Aside from price gouging and reselling medical supplies, ticketable offences include exceeding the quantity limits on the sale of specified items and hotels or lodging operators not providing accommodation for self-isolation facilities or to support essential workers.

Consumer Protection BC will be the primary point of contact for price gouging concerns. In a press release, the agency said its received almost 1,500 price gouging complaints related to COVID-19.

The full range of people authorized to hand out tickets, aside from police, includes: municipal bylaw officers, liquor and cannabis inspectors, gaming inspectors, conservation officers, community safety unit inspectors, park rangers, natural resource officers, commercial vehicle safety officials and sheriffs.

The form for reporting price gouging to Consumer Protection BC is here: https://www.consumerprotectionbc.ca/report-price-gouging.

The agency is asking people to provide this information when reporting price gouging:

  • Your name and contact information, for possible follow up
  • The type of product being sold, the new price, and the previous price if possible
  • Any evidence, if possible, such as a picture or receipt
  • The name of the business and the address, including the city

READ MORE: B.C. bans ‘shameful black market’ of food, medical supplies; limits buying quantities

READ MORE: Gaining herd immunity through COVID-19 transmissions ‘ineffective’: B.C.’s top doctor

READ MORE: Summer events, parades, large weddings off the table this summer: Henry


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

British ColumbiaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port McNeill curling club will be getting a brand new paint job, thanks to residents

‘The generosity of this community never ceases to amaze me!’

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

North Island students are back in class, sitting six-feet apart

School District 85 schools reopened June 1 for students who want to come in person

Universal basic income is a good thing

‘I’ve always loved change, so I’m rooting for a different way of life altogether’

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Considerations made to keep Island community’s drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

RCMP, coroner investigate ‘unexpected deaths’ on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Summer tubing ban on Cowichan River lifted

The Tube Shack opening on June 27

North Island College students printing safety gear

Industrial automation students use program smarts to help others

Most Read