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LETTER: Bylaw enforcement staff 'have way too much time on their hands'

Reader says bylaw officer went to her home-based business again to 'educate' her on COVID compliance, not responding to a complaint
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BarrieToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to a story titled 'City creeping closer to beefing up bylaw enforcement department' published on Dec. 8. 

The culture of bullying and harassment within the city has not improved and resources are still not being used efficiently, from my viewpoint.

On June 4, 2020, due to a complaint bylaw enforcement interrupted my workday to conduct an investigation regarding my compliance with COVID-19 legislation. The MLEO [municipal law enforcement officer] found no violation.

On Jan. 14, 2021, a bylaw enforcement officer attended yet again. He stated that he found no violation and yet he wants to “obtain compliance." Therefore, on Friday, Jan. 15, he demanded that I submit to him a copy of my COVID-19 safety plan by Monday, Jan. 18.

The MLEO has refused to tell me the details of this latest complaint, as well as the applicable bylaw or provincial regulation despite the fact that I requested the information four times. He gave me numerous deadlines and when I failed to comply within his time frame, he threatened me with a fine of at least $750 and “yelled” at me over email.

The bylaw enforcement officer mentioned that in order to “obtain compliance,” he wants to “educate” me.

Since the City of Barrie has requested more staff and resources for the bylaw enforcement department in the budget, I am not certain where a current MLEO is finding the time to “educate” health professionals who already receive a thorough education from their regulatory bodies. 

Nor do understand why bylaw enforcement would use their apparently insufficient resources to conduct multiple investigations into a business where they found no violations.

Was the COVID-19 legislation written for the purpose of bullying a law-abiding citizen operating a legal business? How many investigations must a home-based business with very little risk associated undergo?

This is but a brief glimpse into the harassment I have been receiving over 14 years of operating a business, yet according to their website, the City of Barrie would like to attract more small business. 

I would recommend that the bylaw enforcement budget be reduced. Obviously, staff have way too much time on their hands.

Rhonda King