Workers prepare to greet passengers at the COVID-19 testing centre in the International Arrivals area at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Tuesday January 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Workers prepare to greet passengers at the COVID-19 testing centre in the International Arrivals area at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Tuesday January 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Federal Court judge dismisses bid to halt hotel quarantines

Justice Centre said the feds will have ‘to account for the incarceration of Canadians without due process’

A group of air travellers has lost a Federal Court bid for an interim injunction to prohibit hotel quarantines for returning passengers.

Justice William Pentney said in a written ruling that the three-day stay in federally designated facilities does not put Canadians’ security at significant risk.

The mandatory quarantine — part of a two-week self-isolation regime for travellers flying back from abroad — came into effect on Feb. 22 following federal measures announced the previous month amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a coronavirus test upon arrival and can cost up to $2,000.

It has faced some backlash from opposition MPs, civil liberties groups and health experts for either coming too late, encroaching on individual freedoms or not going far enough.

However, the judge said the risk that travellers will unwittingly carry COVID-19 variants over the border even after testing negative before flight departure means the measures should stand until a final ruling comes down.

“I do not doubt that the applicants, and other travellers, may be vexed and inconvenienced by the requirement to pay to stay at a hotel while they wait for the results of their COVID-19 test. However, I do not accept that doing so exposes these travellers to any significant security risk,” Pentney wrote in the ruling released Friday.

The broader case against the hotel stays, organized by the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, is slated to continue in Federal Court with a three-day hearing starting June 1.

Justice Centre spokesman Jay Cameron said the federal government will have “to account for the incarceration of Canadians without due process.”

“The forced isolation of Canadians in federal facilities, even though they are asymptomatic and have already tested negative for COVID, is an unwarranted, arbitrary and unjustified detention that is a shameful blight on the nation,” he said in an email.

Multiple G20 countries have arguably stricter quarantine measures. Australia, the United Kingdom, China and Japan mandate hotel quarantines ranging from 10 days to three weeks for some or most arrivals.

The preliminary ruling did not examine the applicants’ core claims under sections 7 and 9 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protect Canadians’ right to life, liberty and security and their right not to be arbitrarily detained, respectively. These will come under the microscope after a full hearing in five weeks, the judge said.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole on Monday called for tighter travel restrictions rather than “half measures” by the Liberal government.

He said Canada should consider an immediate ban on all international flights, particularly COVID-19 hot spots, and implement rapid testing at airports and land-border crossings to keep out more transmissible strains of the virus.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada has among the strictest travel and border rules across the globe, including the 14-day self-isolation and a ban on travel into the country by most non-residents.

On Thursday, the federal government announced a 30-day ban on all direct flights from India and Pakistan as case numbers spike at home and more contagious strains including the B.1.6.1.7 variant ravage the subcontinent.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Most Read