Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)

B.C. couple accused of flying to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine to appear in court

If convicted, the pair could serve up to six months in jail

A Vancouver couple accused of flying to a remote Yukon community to get the COVID-19 vaccine will have to answer for their alleged actions in a courtroom.

Former Great Canadian Gaming Corp. CEO Rodney Baker and his wife, Ekaterina Baker, were given summary tickets last week for violating the territory’s Civil Emergency Measures Act, which carries fines of up to $1,000, plus fees.

Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker said Wednesday those tickets have been stayed and the same charges are being served upon the couple on a longer-form information, with a notice to appear in court in Whitehorse.

The distinction means that if they are convicted, they could also serve up to six months in jail.

“I have to say I’m outraged by this selfish behaviour. All of us as Yukoners are outraged,” Streicker told a news conference Wednesday. “I find it disturbing that people would choose to put fellow Canadians at risk in this manner.”

A request for comment from the couple sent to Ekaterina Baker’s email was not immediately returned.

Streicker confirmed the pair had been served with the new information Wednesday afternoon. Their court date is scheduled for May 4 in Whitehorse.

They are each charged with one count of failing to self-isolate for 14 days and one count of failing to act in a manner consistent with their declarations upon arriving in the Yukon.

Streicker said the RCMP is also looking at the case. The Mounties in Yukon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Great Canadian Gaming said it accepted Baker’s resignation on Sunday. Baker earned a total of about $6.7 million in compensation from the company in 2019, according to an information circular published by the company last year.

Streicker said last week the couple allegedly chartered a plane to the small community of Beaver Creek, posed as visiting workers and received shots of a COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic.

The White River First Nation in Beaver Creek was prioritized to receive the vaccine because of its remoteness, its elderly population and limited access to health care, said Chief Angela Demit.

Streicker said Wednesday that he was not aware of any efforts by the couple to get in touch with the First Nation to apologize.

The minister also said the territory will change its eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 vaccine, after the couple’s alleged behaviour “sent a jitter through the system.”

People who have health cards from a different province or territory will now have to also show proof of local employment or residency, such as a utility bill, he said.

However, he stressed that if a resident is concerned they don’t have the right identification, they can get in touch and the government will work with them to make sure they get immunized.

“I also want to emphasize that all Yukoners are able to get the vaccine when it is their turn. Please don’t miss this opportunity to get vaccinated. Thankfully, and to the credit of all those involved in the effort, the vaccine rollout is going really well.”

READ MORE: B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

Some 5,170 people have been vaccinated in the Yukon and the territory is on track to immunize all adult residents well before most other parts of Canada, Streicker said.

In rural and remote areas, residents 18 and older can receive a vaccine at a mobile clinic, while in larger communities, including Whitehorse, people 65 and over are currently being immunized.

People 60 and over can book appointments starting Feb. 1, and everyone 18 and over can receive a shot as of Feb. 10.

The territory has no active cases of COVID-19.

Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, said his team did a detailed risk assessment after the Vancouver couple allegedly entered Beaver Creek to get the vaccine.

Hanley said even if one presumed the couple was positive for COVID-19, he is confident there was no risk of exposure to the pilot of the chartered flight or other community members.

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has said the pair will not be prioritized to receive a second dose of the vaccine and will have to wait until it is their turn under B.C.’s age-based system.

— By Laura Dhillon Kane in Vancouver.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

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

Just Posted

Mayor Bill Dingwall said grant will go a long way to ensure the risks and hazards of wildfires are minimized in Pitt Meadows. (News files)
Pitt Meadows receives grant for wildfire resiliency planning

City awarded $50,000 as part of provincial program designed to reduce risk and impact of wildfire

School board chair Korleen Carreras, left, is looking forward to receiving input for the 2021/2022 preliminary budget. (The News files)
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school board expecting COVID will impact budget

Work being done now on 2021/2022 preliminary budget

Last month there was a COVID-19 variant at Maple Ridge’s Garibaldi secondary. (Neil Corbett/The News)
COVID-19 rapid response teams to assist school districts

Little in-school transmission in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows says Carreras

Police seized drugs and a makeshift garrote. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)
Police seized drugs and a makeshift garrote. (Ridge Meadows RCMP/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge police arrest man with drugs, strangling weapon

Ridge Meadows RCMP street team stopped suspect for driving while prohibited

Almost 400 new child care spaces for the Fraser Valley. (Thinkstock Image)
Child-care spaces boosted by provincial fund across the Fraser Valley

400 licensed child-care spaces coming for Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge families

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Photo: Surrey RCMP
Surrey RCMP arrests two boys, age 16, during dial-a-dope investigation in Whalley

Sergeant Elenore Sturko said one boy is ‘alleged to have been in possession of a loaded handgun at the time of his arrest’

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read