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

Sicamous will have a new locally-owned option for grabbing a bite on the go as the Snacktastic food trailer opened at the start of March. (Kelly Hesleton/Facebook)
Curbside food trailer gives Sicamous a new dining option

Snacktastic owner Dawn Backs grateful for support from family and community

A B.C. government-run cannabis retail outlet was proposed for a building to be constructed at the Salmon Arm SmartCentres site. (File photo)
Province backs away from plans for Salmon Arm cannabis store

BC Cannabis Store was proposed to be in building to be constructed at shopping centre

COVID-19 numbers provided by Interior Health show Salmon Arm and Revelstoke in the 200-plus range from January 2020 to February 2021 while Vernon, with a larger population, tallied more than 600 over the 14 months. (BC Centre for Disease Control map)
14 months of COVID-19 data show Kamloops cases doubling Vernon’s

Jan. 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021: 605 cases reported for Vernon, 243 for Salmon Arm, 1,246 for Kamloops

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
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Mussel inspection sit set up at B.C.-Alberta border. (Contributed)
Okanagan Basin Water Board calls for stronger invasive mussel protection

Letter sets out six recommendations for environment minister George Heyman to consider

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Riverside Centre includes a theatre hosting local plays, visiting musicians and dance troupes. It is also used for community events such as public meetings and fundraisers. Photo Town of Princeton
Penticton Fire Department pulled a kayaker from Okanagan Lake on Wednesday after he had fallen out of his boat and called 911. The man was taken to the hospital for treatment. (Western News - File)
Kayaker rescued from Okanagan Lake after falling in and calling 911

The Penticton Fire Department’s Marine Rescue pulled him out suffering from severe cold

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s general manager Dan Proulx, left, hosted a virtual Official Opposition town hall meeting with Shadow Cabinet Minister Small Business Pat Kelly, right, and North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold March 3, 2021. (Screenshot)
Tourism key to business recovery in North Okanagan-Shuswap: MP

Easing travel restrictions, limiting taxation and debt management critical to COVID-19 economic recovery

Most Read