A Simcoe mother says she was fined $880 for dropping off three of her children at their grandparents’ home for babysitting.
Natasha Kohl, a mother of four, told CTV News, she had dropped off the three children at her in-laws’ house in Delhi recently, so that she could do some grocery shopping.
Her fiance, she said, wasn’t able to look after their children at that time. “He wasn’t able to help me and it was actually my birthday, so I wanted to get home so I could spend the night with him and my kids, so I took them to my father-in-law,” she said.
When she returned to pick her kids up, they were having lunch with their uncle and cousins, who also live in the house. “So I was with them as they were eating their pizza,” Kohl told CTV News.
Once they left the house, Kohl said she was pulled over by a provincial police officer.
“He turned on his lights and pulled us over and my daughter said, ‘Why is he pulling us over?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know,’ so I waited for him to come to the window and that’s when he said they had complaints of high traffic in the house,” she told Global News.
Once ticketed, she was informed that officials would be speaking to her father-in-law about the complaint as well.
A news release posted by the provincial police states that two people were charged with failing to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act.
“It was determined that police were contacted after several people were seen at the residence. Officers attending the area subsequently stopped a vehicle seen leaving and conducted an investigation,” Norfolk OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk said in a news release.
Kohl, however, told Global News that she had explained the situation to the officer. “He clearly watched me pick up my three kids from the house,” she added.
Attending, obtaining or providing childcare is allowed under the stay-at-home order, according to the Ontario government. However, Derek Rogers, the media relations co-ordinator for the OPP’s west region office, told Global News she was “not charged with dropping her kids off at grandparents.”
“She was charged with violating the Reopening Ontario Act,” he added. No details explaining exactly how Kohl violated the act have been provided as yet.
Kohl told Global News that the Ontario government must clarify the current lockdown rules for law enforcement.
“From my understanding child care was not taken out, so if you had to take your kids to daycare or you had to have a family member watch your kids, I thought that you were allowed to,” she said.
Meanwhile, Kohl has already sent the ticket to the Simcoe courthouse, where she plans to fight the fine. “I did have a couple of paralegals and people that are legal representatives who emailed me to represent me for free,” she said.
“I had to stop working to stay home with my kids,” Kohl added to CTV News. “So, an $880 ticket is quite expensive when I’m not working.”