Delta police seized nearly 4,000 surgical masks from two re-sellers on April 14, 2020. (Delta Police Department photo)

Delta police seized nearly 4,000 surgical masks from two re-sellers on April 14, 2020. (Delta Police Department photo)

Delta police seize nearly 4,000 surgical masks from two re-sellers

B.C. banned the resale of food, medical and cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment in March

Delta police have seized nearly 4,000 surgical masks from a two individuals trying to sell the much-needed medical equipment despite a provincial ban on such sales.

According to a post on the Delta Police Department’s Facebook page, officers with the DPD’s crime reduction unit arranged to make two bulk purchases of medical grade surgical masks on Tuesday, April 14. Police arranged to buy 2,000 surgical masks from one seller for $1,600, and another 1,940 masks from another for $2,134.

“Apparently not all re-sellers of medical protection equipment have got the message yet that this type of activity is currently prohibited. But Delta Police were happy to provide that education,” the post reads.

Both sellers received $500 bylaw tickets for operating without a business licence and police seized a total of 3,940 masks.

The seizures come a week and a half after Delta police seized 60 N95 masks and 5,300 surgical masks from two separate re-sellers. Both of those individuals were also handed $500 bylaw tickets for operating without a business licence.

READ MORE: Two people fined for trying to re-sell N95 and surgical masks in Delta (April 3, 2020)

The masks from the first seizure were handed over to SafeCare BC, one of the organizations collecting personal protection equipment on behalf of the provincial government, to be redistributed to health authorities. According to a post on the DPD’s Facebook page, BC Care Providers board president Aly Devji said the masks would likely be prioritized to protect seniors in care.

During a virtual townhall on Thursday morning (April 16), DPD Chief Neil Dubord said the masks seized on April 14 are being held as evidence for the time being until it is decided “whether or not there will be a case coming forward from that particular investigation.”

“Once we identify whether or not they are needed for evidence, they could be donated back to Fraser Health and they could again distribute them according to their distribution network,” Dubord said.

Last month, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced a ban on the resale of food, medical and cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, saying it would put an end to the “shameful black market for medical supplies” that has materialized as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“People engaging in that behaviour can expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Farnworth said on March 26.

People found breaking that order and others issued under the provincial state of emergency could face fines of more than $25,000 or jail time.

READ MORE: B.C. bans ‘shameful black market’ of food, medical supplies; limits buying quantities (March 26, 2020)

Last week, Delta Mayor George Harvie sent a letter to Minister of Health Adrian Dix asking the province to empower local authorities to enforce public health orders relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter, dated April 8, says the city needs the ability at the local level to enforce the orders of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to “effectively support” the government in limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance, respect closures (March 27, 2020)

Delta council unanimously approved amendments to the city’s Emergency Program Bylaw on March 27 enabling police and bylaw enforcement officers to ticket and fine anyone who isn’t adhering to orders issued by the provincial health officer relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the amended bylaw, acting contrary to an order, failing to carry out or comply with an order, or interfering with or obstructing any authorized person in carrying out their duties will carry a fine of between $500 and $1,000 per offence.

However, Delta’s authority to issue those fines ended when the province suspended local states of emergency in favour of a co-ordinated provincial response to the COVID-19 pandemic the day before the bylaw was passed.

READ MORE: Delta’s local state of emergency suspended in favour of provincial response to COVID-19 (March 26, 2020

On Tuesday, March 31, the province issued a clarification regarding the role of compliance and enforcement officials in implementing COVID-19 public health orders.

The document states that local police and bylaw officers are not empowered to ticket or detain people with respect to public heath orders, except when called upon to assist a health officer.

The document goes on to state the province has adopted and implemented a “graduated compliance and enforcement approach that generally starts with providing information, education and advice as the first step, with escalating measured enforcement only as required.

A shorter brief issued the same day says bylaw enforcement officers and the like are to serve as the start of the graduated enforcement.

“If this approach is not successful, then referral to a health officer is appropriate.”

— with files from Katya Slepian

RELATED: Health Canada issues warning for fake N95s, even as public urged not to buy medical masks (April 14, 2020)



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusDeltaPolice

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

Just Posted

Maureen Blamey is a seniors outreach social worker with the geriatrics team. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
New geriatrics team to help seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

The Seniors Service Team was formed to improve the quality of life for pre-frail and frail, medically complex seniors

Baillie House long-term care is located at Ridge Meadows Hospital. (Google Maps)
Five people test positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge’s Baillie House

Long-term care facility is one month removed from its last outbreak

Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows MLA Beare performs one of first official acts in new office

Order permitting use of additional communication tools in public sector during pandemic extended

Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)
Pitt Meadows city hall and residents oppose new CP Rail operation

Company announces plans for CP Logistics Park: Vancouver

RCMP responded to a pedestrian accident Wednesday in Pitt Meadows. (The News files)
Senior pedestrian struck by vehicle in Pitt Meadows

Driver stayed on scene, ticketed by RCMP

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

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

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

Most Read