Rodney "Rod" Baker, was the former President (2010) and CEO of Great Canadian Gaming from 2011-2021, before resigning January 25th, 2021, after it was discovered that he and his wife, Ekaterina Baker, booked a private plane to travel to Beaver Creek, Yukon and deceived medical personnel to obtain doses of a COVID-19 vaccine intended for the local community, including members of the White River First Nation.
January 19th, 2020
According to Yukon Services Minister John Streicker, both Rodney Baker and Ekaterina Baker touched down at Whitehorse airport on January 19th. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial restrictions mandated a 14-day self-isolation period which was not followed.
January 21st, 2020
A mere 2 days after touching down in Whitehorse, the couple violated the self-isolation order and chartered a small private plane to the community of Beaver Creek, Yukon, 450 km (280 mi) away from Whitehorse. According to Streicker, the couple then took advantage of the mobile vaccination clinic, set up for members of the 100 or so community, and deceived the healthcare workers by claiming to be new-hires at a local motel. Yukon's rural communities and First Nations have priority to receive vaccinations as they are more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. As is the case with many rural communities, Beaver Creek is hours away from a hospital and lacks the resources to address an outbreak. As stated by Chief Angela Demit, of the White River First Nation, WRFN had been selected to receive vaccines because of its high-risk elderly population.
Per the provincial government, individuals living and working in the territory do not need Yukon ID or health card to be vaccinated, however, they must provide appropriate proof of residency. It is currently unknown whether or not the couple did provide such proof. In this case, the couple presented both an Ontario health card and a B.C. health card.
Healthcare workers were able to discern the couple's intentions after the couple suspiciously asked for a ride to the airport following the administration of the Moderna Vaccine. Further investigation by the clinic staff, including a call to the motel for confirmation of employment, led them to call CEMA (Civil Emergency Measures Act) enforcement officers.
Following the discovery of the fraud, by healthcare workers, CEMA officers began an immediate investigation into the whereabouts of Rodney Baker and his wife. Thanks to the mandatory declaration forms, required to enter Yukon from another jurisdiction, the officers tracked the couple to their hotel where the two were supposed to be self-isolating and confirmed they had checked out. The couple was finally located the same day at Whitehorse airport just as they were getting ready to leave the territory.
The pair are accused of violating the territorial Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA) by failing to self-isolate and failing to adhere to entry declarations. The maximum penalty under CEMA is a $500 fine plus $75 surcharge, six months in jail, or both. Court records indicate that both individuals received two fines, one for failing to self-isolate and a second for failing to follow their signed declaration, adding up to $1,150 each.
- "Casino CEO, actress identified as couple who flew to Yukon, got COVID-19 vaccines". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
- "Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine". Yukon News. 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
- "Canadian mogul fined after getting Covid vaccine meant for Indigenous residents". The Guardian. 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
- "White River First Nation calls for harsher penalty for Vancouver residents who broke COVID-19 rules". CBC News. CBC. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
- "Sleeves up, Yukon. The future is looking bright". yukon.ca. 2021-01-11. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
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