British Columbia

RCMP warn youth and parents about participation in 'grad sleep-out' events

Police issue reminder about COVID-19 enforcement fines ahead of weekend when Grade 12 students participate in the tradition of back-to-school camping parties on the North Shore.

Police warn of COVID-19 enforcement fines for youth during weekend camping and parties on North Shore

North Vancouver RCMP caution the new batch of Grade 12 students heading to the North Shore mountains for 'grad sleep-out' events to adhere to the law and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Stephen Hui)

North Vancouver RCMP are offering some advice to parents and their teens about "grad sleep-out" events this weekend. 

The sleep-out, which is a tradition for students entering their final year of secondary school, may involve camping or a party in the North Shore mountains, say RCMP.

"In our experience, students who have participated in grad sleep-outs are generally responsible young people enjoying the natural increases in freedom we all experienced as we grew up," said North Vancouver RCMP Sgt. Peter DeVries. 

"We just want to remind them and their parents that with increased freedom comes increased responsibility." 

DeVries urges young people to abide by provincial and federal laws, municipal bylaws, and help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Parents responsible for children's fines

But while young people will bear most of the responsibility for their actions, DeVries says parents are still liable for youth under age 18. 

"That means when it comes to provincial or municipal fines for offences, parents may still be legally on the hook to pay up," said DeVries. 

Starting in August, B.C.'s public safety minister gave police and other law enforcement agencies the authority to issue fines up to $2,000 to people hosting, organizing or promoting large events or gatherings that violate public health orders in B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister also authorized $200 fines for individuals who refuse to follow the direction of police or enforcement staff at events, or do not follow the orders of the provincial health officer. 

DeVries encourages parents to have frank discussions with their children about alcohol and cannabis, as well as the new health orders and the penalties for violations. 

"I don't imagine any parent would be happy if their kid came home with a $1,000 ticket in their back pocket," said DeVries.