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

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

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

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read