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Province authorizes $2,000 fine for price gouging, secondary reselling of medical supplies

The provincial government is cracking down on inflating prices and those who choose to resell medical equipment under the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Columbia’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth authorized police and other enforcement officers to issue a $2,000 fine for secondary reselling and price gouging of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.

Effective immediately, these new measures are enacted under the provincial state of emergency, using the extraordinary powers of the Emergency Program Act.

Consumer Protection BC will be the first point of contact for complaints around price gouging, and the complaints will be passed on to local authorities, explained Farnworth.

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“These orders are not suggestions, they are the law,” said Farnworth.

“These measures will provide enforcement officers and police agencies the ability to enforce the law on these criminal acts and despicable practices, like the reselling of medical supplies and price gouging.”

The province is calling upon compliance staff from provincial ministries and local governments to support enforcement for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency.

This includes municipal bylaw officers, liquor and cannabis inspectors, gaming inspectors, conservation officers, community safety unit inspectors, park rangers, natural resource officers, commercial vehicle safety officials, and sheriffs.

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These new measures will be in place for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If required, police and other enforcement officers will also be able to actively enforce and ticket those who exceed the quantity limits on the sale of specified items, and those who don’t comply with the requirement for hotel and other lodging operators to provide accommodation at the request of the province to serve as self-isolation facilities or to support essential workers.

These measures are in conjunction with the federal government’s April 14th announcement allowing police forces to issue tickets to returning travelers who do not comply with the 14-day self-isolation requirement under the federal Quarantine Act.

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