Ottawa teen fined for breaking Quebec curfew while trying to return to Ontario
OTTAWA -- An Ottawa teen is facing a $561 fine for breaking curfew in Quebec after trying to get home from an ice fishing trip.
Jason Laverty lives in Aylmer, Que. This past weekend, he and his son Lukas spent the day ice fishing. His son lives in Ottawa.
On his drive home, Lukas was stopped by Gatineau police just one light before the provincial boundary. The time was 8:12 p.m., 12 minutes after the start of the Quebec government’s nightly curfew.
“He was one light before the bridge and police pulled him over,” says Jason. “Sure enough they gave him a $561 fine for breaking curfew.”
“He asks for my driver's licence. Tells me how I’m not allowed to be here past eight. And I’m like, I know, I’m just coming back from my dad's,” says Lukas. “I’m just trying to get home. I’m sorry. It’s like 12 minutes after eight.”
Lukas, who is 17, said he was taking his time and driving slowly due to icy conditions. His father believes police should have considered that.
“He was leaving the province; he wasn’t entering. I don’t understand where the logic in all of this is,” Jason says.
“Police officers have the ability to evaluate each situation to see if this particular one deserves to receive a fine or if it's better to go with a warning,” says Gatineau police spokesperson Andrée East. “There's no specific guideline. Every case is a case-by-case one.”
Regardless of whether you live in Quebec or not, you could be fined up to $1500 for breaking the curfew. Lukas is considered a minor, which is why he was only charged just over $500 dollars.
“Even if they are living in Ontario, they should be aware that the curfew is applying to everyone who comes into the Quebec side,” says East.
The ticket that Lukas received was one of 15 that Gatineau police handed out this past weekend.
“It’s discouraging. It’s extremely discouraging. And it's sad,” says Jason.
“(The police) could have given me a written warning or told me in a lot of different ways that I shouldn’t be there, and I knew that,” says Lukas. “I’m 17 years old. I just wanted to go visit my dad. I haven’t seen him in weeks. I didn’t really think it would be a huge issue.”
The Quebec curfew is in place until Feb. 8.