Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)

B.C. couple accused of flying to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine to appear in court

If convicted, the pair could serve up to six months in jail

A Vancouver couple accused of flying to a remote Yukon community to get the COVID-19 vaccine will have to answer for their alleged actions in a courtroom.

Former Great Canadian Gaming Corp. CEO Rodney Baker and his wife, Ekaterina Baker, were given summary tickets last week for violating the territory’s Civil Emergency Measures Act, which carries fines of up to $1,000, plus fees.

Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker said Wednesday those tickets have been stayed and the same charges are being served upon the couple on a longer-form information, with a notice to appear in court in Whitehorse.

The distinction means that if they are convicted, they could also serve up to six months in jail.

“I have to say I’m outraged by this selfish behaviour. All of us as Yukoners are outraged,” Streicker told a news conference Wednesday. “I find it disturbing that people would choose to put fellow Canadians at risk in this manner.”

A request for comment from the couple sent to Ekaterina Baker’s email was not immediately returned.

Streicker confirmed the pair had been served with the new information Wednesday afternoon. Their court date is scheduled for May 4 in Whitehorse.

They are each charged with one count of failing to self-isolate for 14 days and one count of failing to act in a manner consistent with their declarations upon arriving in the Yukon.

Streicker said the RCMP is also looking at the case. The Mounties in Yukon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Great Canadian Gaming said it accepted Baker’s resignation on Sunday. Baker earned a total of about $6.7 million in compensation from the company in 2019, according to an information circular published by the company last year.

Streicker said last week the couple allegedly chartered a plane to the small community of Beaver Creek, posed as visiting workers and received shots of a COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile clinic.

The White River First Nation in Beaver Creek was prioritized to receive the vaccine because of its remoteness, its elderly population and limited access to health care, said Chief Angela Demit.

Streicker said Wednesday that he was not aware of any efforts by the couple to get in touch with the First Nation to apologize.

The minister also said the territory will change its eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 vaccine, after the couple’s alleged behaviour “sent a jitter through the system.”

People who have health cards from a different province or territory will now have to also show proof of local employment or residency, such as a utility bill, he said.

However, he stressed that if a resident is concerned they don’t have the right identification, they can get in touch and the government will work with them to make sure they get immunized.

“I also want to emphasize that all Yukoners are able to get the vaccine when it is their turn. Please don’t miss this opportunity to get vaccinated. Thankfully, and to the credit of all those involved in the effort, the vaccine rollout is going really well.”

READ MORE: B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

Some 5,170 people have been vaccinated in the Yukon and the territory is on track to immunize all adult residents well before most other parts of Canada, Streicker said.

In rural and remote areas, residents 18 and older can receive a vaccine at a mobile clinic, while in larger communities, including Whitehorse, people 65 and over are currently being immunized.

People 60 and over can book appointments starting Feb. 1, and everyone 18 and over can receive a shot as of Feb. 10.

The territory has no active cases of COVID-19.

Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, said his team did a detailed risk assessment after the Vancouver couple allegedly entered Beaver Creek to get the vaccine.

Hanley said even if one presumed the couple was positive for COVID-19, he is confident there was no risk of exposure to the pilot of the chartered flight or other community members.

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has said the pair will not be prioritized to receive a second dose of the vaccine and will have to wait until it is their turn under B.C.’s age-based system.

— By Laura Dhillon Kane in Vancouver.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Residents began moving into the new housing project of Arrow Heights this month. (Submitted)
‘Step in the right direction’: New affordable homes open in Nakusp

Council aims to still provide more affordable housing options for Nakusp

A man wearing a mask against coronavirus walks past an NHS advertisement about COVID-19 in London, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
92 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths: Interior Health

The region is reporting 92 cases after the weekend

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Dr. Amit Desai of St. Francis Hospital receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
B.C. has now vaccinated more people from COVID-19 than total confirmed cases

B.C. has reached a milestone, vaccinating roughly 1.6% of its population from the coronavirus

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who smashed the window of an adult toy store and made off with more than $1,200 in merchandise. (File photo)
Vancouver Island sex shop out $1,200 in merchandise after suspect steals ‘colossal’ product

Suspect smashed window of Nanaimo store, cutting himself in the process

Most Read