REGINA -- The provincial government has established a special detention centre for people who fail to comply with self-isolation orders.

The facility was set up quietly by the province. It is located at the White Birch Remand Centre in Regina where female prisoners are held while awaiting trial.

“It’s for those individuals that fail to comply with local conditions and are a danger to the community,” said Marlo Pritchard, the president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.

Four people have been sent to the centre so far, including a Regina COVID-19 patient who police say failed to comply with the self-isolation order. She was also fined $2,000.

Three other people were also being detained at the facility on Wednesday.

“It’s a medical health order that sends individuals there. It’s for noncompliance. There are numerous warnings given asking for individuals to self isolate at a local community,” said Pritchard.

Regina lawyer Tony Merchant says he understands the public safety aspect of what authorities are doing, but questions whether there is any legal authority to hold people.

“I don’t see anything that entitles imprisonment and it may be that people have just been told, ‘well we’re going to protect you,’ manipulated or tricked.”

The provincial government believes it has authority to detain people under the Emergency Planning and Public Heath Acts. It says most are held for only short periods until they agree to other arrangements for self isolation.