Because the Saskatchewan government won’t, Saskatoon city councillors want to know if they can impose gathering size limits to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“This is unheard of. Mayor Charlie Clark stated, “It is far preferable for the provincial government to implement gathering sizes.”
“It doesn’t make sense to me that we’re the only jurisdiction that doesn’t have gathering size restrictions – even Alberta has.”
During Monday’s governance and priorities committee meeting, Clark offered a motion for the city administration to study whether and how the city can impose gathering size restrictions.
With seven votes in favor and four votes against, the bill was passed.
Clark had previously written to Saskatchewan health minister Paul Merriman on Oct. 1 asking for a public health order to limit gathering sizes. On Oct. 7, the city received the reply.
“The province has indicated that they will not be implementing (gathering size restrictions) at this time,” Pamela Goulden-McLeod, the city’s director of emergency operations, stated.
She then added “the (city’s COVID-19 response) framework and medical health officers indicate there is still a requirement for gathering restrictions in Saskatoon.”
The framework, which the council adopted in September, is a tiered classification of the threat COVID-19 poses to residents, as determined by Saskatchewan Health Authority medical health officers. They have determined the disease currently poses a high risk and so the framework directs the city to request a limit on gathering sizes from the provincial government.
It does not provide any guidance on what to do if the provincial government doesn’t listen.
In response to a question from Coun. Sarina Gersher, Goulden-McLeod clarified the advice from health officials applied to the city generally and that they didn’t get into the specifics of whether it would only apply to city facilities.
The committee then took a break for over 20 minutes to receive private legal advice from municipal counsel Cindy Yelland.
“We heard from the city solicitor that no other towns, to her knowledge, in Canada have put through a bylaw of this type and had it coincide or be authorized by the provincial government,” Coun. Bev Dubois said during the debate, referring to the advice.
Ward 10 is the tenth ward of the Other cities aren’t coping with the issue because they don’t have to, according to Coun. Zach Jeffries.
He stated of the provincial government, “We have the worst condition and zero guidance.”
Source_ the Canadian press