OTTAWA -- Ottawa police have turned away 2,086 drivers at Ottawa-Gatineau interprovincial crossings for reasons officers deemed were not essential since deploying checkpoints in mid-April.

Those drivers were among more than 44,700 drivers screened at bridges and ferry crossings between April 19 and May 12, the Ottawa Police Service said in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

The service estimates the cost to patrol the five interprovincial bridges and two ferry crossings will be at least $650,000.

The Ontario government implemented new restrictions on interprovincial travel as part of steps to reduce COVID-19 transmission.  As of April 19, travel from Manitoba or Quebec into Ontario is restricted.

Ontario said exemptions will only be allowed for specific reasons, including:

  • Going to work
  • Receiving medical care or social services
  • Business transport of goods
  • Exercising Indigenous or treaty rights
  • Your primary residence is in Ontario
  • You are moving to a new primary residence in Ontario
  • Humanitarian or compassionate reasons, such as providing care or services to a person who requires assistance due to their state of health
  • Attending, transporting or picking up a student from a school or post-secondary institution in Ontario
  • Transporting a child who is registered to receive child care in Ontario

Ottawa police started screening drivers, cyclists and pedestrians at all interprovincial crossings on April 19. Less than two days later, police said officers would stop monitoring the crossings 24 hours a day, seven days a week, instead deploying officers on a rotating schedule of checkpoints.

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly told reporters on April 26 that the reasons people gave for trying to enter Ontario tended to centre around two areas. One is "a stated desire by residents of Quebec to come to Ontario to purchase cannabis from our local stores," said Sloly.

The other is a variety of other shopping, including food and retail.


Ottawa police estimate the projected cost to patrol the Ottawa-Gatineau crossings is $650,000.

"The province has advised that it will fully reimburse the Ottawa Police Service for all costs related to the interprovincial border crossing Order," said police in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

"Based on the current Order and operations, the current projected cost for this Order (originally scheduled to expire on May 20th) is currently estimated at $650,000. We continue to track all costs related to this operation and a final summary will be available at the completion of this project."

The Ontario government announced Thursday the stay-at-home order will remain in effect until June 2. The stay-at-home order includes restricted travel from Quebec into Ontario