Paqtnkek Council passes public health bylaw to manage pandemic response
May 20, 2020 – Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation now has its own bylaw available to protect the health and safety of community members.
Chief and council have approved the Public Health Bylaw, which is based on the public safety provisions of section 81 of the Indian Act. It gives the Chief and council the power to issue orders to limit the spread of communicable diseases. Penalties can also be imposed against anyone who violates the bylaw.
“Indigenous communities have historically been exposed to greater risks from communicable diseases,“ said Chief Paul (PJ) Prosper. “This bylaw lets us create our own unique solutions to further protect our small community of only 135 households.”
Council can issue a blanket order (see list) or a directive to any person, business or organization deemed to be creating a health risk. Possible measures could include any or all of the following:
– Mandatory curfew within defined hours;
– An order or directive to endorse provisions in the Nova Scotia Health Protection Act, Federal Quarantines Act or Emergency Measures Act;
– Checkpoints at entrances and exits to reserve land to restrict traffic from visitors, non-Band members or non-residents;
– A full lockdown of the community;
– Administrative action against a person or business deemed to be in contravention of the bylaw.
Anyone who fails to comply with an order or directive could face penalties, including a fine of up to $1,000, up to 30 days in jail, or both. The bylaw was written in consultation with the local detachment of the RCMP.
Community members can read the full text of the bylaw on the Paqtnkek website at paqtnkek.ca/covid-19. A copy will be distributed to each household, posted throughout the community and shared via social media.