FAQ about Enforcement

As the COVID-19 situation in Hamilton continues to evolve, the following FAQ will be regularly updated as circumstances change to provide residents with current information on how the City of Hamilton is enforcing the Provincial Orders under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA).

Charges under EMCPA Charges
Non-essential / Essential Businesses* 11
Gathering of 5+ People 28
Use of Prohibited Amenities 114
Others 0
Obstruct any Order / Officer 9
Using off-leash Dog Park 8
Total Charges under EMCPA


Administrative Penalties Charges
Fireworks By-law 1
Social Distancing 26

  Updated as of June 5, 2020

City of Hamilton COVID-19 Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

(Last Updated April 22, 2020)

There is a Provincial Order against organized gatherings of more than 5 people. This Order can be enforced by Hamilton Police or by City of Hamilton By-law Officers. To report an organized gathering that is in violation of this Order, contact the City of Hamilton at 905-546-2489 (546-CITY). Currently, we are receiving a high number of enforcement requests and will respond as soon as possible.

City of Hamilton By-law Officers are using a progressive enforcement approach to help residents understand the requirements of this order. If they do not obtain compliance or there is a repeated offense, fines of up to $750 per individual may be issued, while corporations could face fines up to $500,000.

The Medical Officer of Health has recommended physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including maintaining a distance of at least two metres from other individuals who are not members of the same household. This includes when going for a walk, grocery shopping, in the workplace, etc. Since the Province of Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17, 2020, the Province granted power to municipal law enforcement officers to enforce Orders issued by the Province under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. To protect the health, safety and well-being of residents and visitors to the City of Hamilton, today, Hamilton City Council has enacted a new Physical Distancing by-law to prohibit certain activities and regulate physical distancing during the COVID-19 Emergency.  City of Hamilton By-law Officers are using a progressive enforcement approach to help residents understand the requirements of this order. The fine for individuals is $500, however this may go up to $10,000 for a serious offence and up to $25,000 for repeat offences. Corporations may receive a fine of up to $50,000 for a first serious offence and up to $100,000 for repeat offences.  By-law Officers are now able to enforce this By-law and residents could report instances by calling (905) 546-2489 (546-CITY).

Most City parks and trails remain open at this time, for walking, jogging or biking only, with appropriate physical distancing and without having gatherings of more than 5 people.

People are NOT permitted to use:

  • sport fields for playing sports or as a leash free dog park
  • skateparks
  • tennis courts
  • basketball courts
  • park pavilions
  • picnic areas
  • dog parks

People are NOT permitted to touch the playground equipment or other physical equipment (such as fitness equipment or benches) at any park.

The following locations are closed – even for walking, jogging or biking:

  • Hamilton Conservation Authority conservation areas and trails
  • Escarpment stairs
  • Waterfront Trail
  • Albion Falls
  • Chedoke and King Forest Golf Courses

Violations may result in fines of $750 for failing to comply with an emergency order under the Emergency Measures Protection Act.  If you are unsure as to whether you can go to a particular park, please contact the City of Hamilton at 905-546-2489 (546-CITY)

It is strongly encouraged that people stay home except for essential trips. If going outside, people are encouraged to go for walks just within their neighborhoods and in their local parks.

No. Both Chedoke and King Forest Golf Courses are closed to the public.  Our golf courses have never been used as a place to go for a walk or as a dog park. Walking in these locations could also be hazardous to residents as there will be gas cutting and other turf maintenance machinery on site. It is prohibited to use the courses in any way at this time.

As of April 6, 2020 the following locations are closed: Hamilton Conservation Authority conservation areas and trails, Escarpment stairs, Waterfront Trail, Albion Falls, parking lots associated with some parks and stairs, playgrounds, skate parks, tennis courts, basketball courts, park pavilions, picnic areas and dog parks.

If someone is using a closed City facility or location, such as the Escarpment stairs or Albion Falls, City of Hamilton By-law Officers and Hamilton Police have the authority to charge the individual with failing to comply with an emergency order under the Emergency Measures Protection Act and issue a fine of $750.

To ensure that on-street parking and parking in municipal lots is available for businesses and employees, starting this Saturday, May 16 payment will once again be required and enforced at all parking meters and lots. Monthly permits from March or April that were not renewed will be honoured in municipal lots through May, but permits for June 1 will need to be renewed.    

To support local businesses and restaurants participating in curbside pickup and delivery, the first 30 minutes at parking meters will be free until further notice.

Some parking regulations on residential streets have been relaxed until further notice to help those working from home or self-isolating.  This includes Time Limit Permit zones and City Wide 12 Hr Time Limit Regulations. No Parking Areas with Permit Parking Only is still being enforced.

Parking Enforcement Officers are actively enforcing parking regulations on streets and neighbourhoods around parking lots that have been closed to the public, such as at trail heads, beach areas, and other areas.  In some cases, additional temporary signage has been placed in selected areas such as the Waterfront and Beach areas to reinforce no parking zones. Anyone parking in these areas will be fined.

Parking enforcement also continues for any matters that cause a health or safety concern, such as blocking driveways or fire hydrants.

Suspected parking violations can be reported by calling 905-540-6000 or by calling 905-546-2489 (546-CITY).

While Public Health officials have advised that the risk of contamination of parking meters or payment machines is highly improbable, staff are taking extra precautions and will clean touch surfaces on payment machines after each collection. Further intermittent cleaning of off-street parking machines in busier lots will be performed by maintenance staff throughout the day.

Yes. City of Hamilton By-law Officers and Parking Enforcement Officers continue to proactively monitor City parks, stairs, trails, playground equipment and other City facilities and locations that have been ordered closed by the Province. By-law Officers are also responding to complaints.

It is important to note that Licensing and Bylaw Services have prioritized COVID-19 related calls. However, they continue to respond to issues related to other City by-laws that represent a health and safety concern, including Vital Services, Vacant Buildings, Illegal Dumping, emergency Property Standards matters, as well as the illegal cutting of trees.

The Province has issued an Order under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act requiring several types of non-essential businesses to close. City of Hamilton Licensing By-law Officers are responsible for enforcing this order. If residents suspect the operation of a non-essential business, they can report it by contacting (905) 546-2489 (546-CITY).

The Province has defined the criteria for operations permitted to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Inquiries should go to the Provincial hotline at 1-888-444-3659.

 The Province’s Order requiring non-essential businesses to close has identified some types of construction sites as essential, but other sites as non-essential.  This information is available by calling the Provincial hotline at 1-888-444-3659.

The City of Hamilton’s Building Division is responsible for enforcing this aspect of the Provincial Order. They will be regularly monitoring construction sites in the city. If you suspect a construction site is operating in contravention of the Provincial Order, please contact 905-546-2489 (546-CITY).

Common amenity areas in private buildings, such as fitness rooms and swimming pools in condo buildings, are required to be closed. Any use of these types of areas would be a contravention of the Emergency Measures Civil Protection Act.  Any complaints will be investigated by the City’s By-law Officers or the Hamilton Police Service. If you suspect a private amenity area is still operating, please contact 905-546-2489 (546-CITY). 

The City’s Public Health Inspectors are responsible for enforcing proper hygiene and public health practices at restaurants, stores, etc.  If you suspect that a business is not following proper hygiene, such as food handling or cleaning, call the Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 905-974-9848 or email [email protected]  Although Public Health is handling a high volume of calls, they will make every effort to respond to these incidents.

Suspected price gouging can be reported through the Provincial hotline at 1-800-889-9768.

Failure to self-isolate could be an offence under the Quarantine Act of Canada.  Enforcement is the responsibility of the federal Quarantine Officer identified under the Act. Until that person is identified by the Federal Government, and directs the police to assist after they have determined there is a violation under the Act, the Police have no authority to act.

A person who has an active case of COVID-19 that is not adhering to isolation protocols can be reported to the Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 905-974-9848 or by emailing [email protected].