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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A boat caught on fire this morning (May 11) in Port Hardy. (Adam Harding/Port Hardy Fire Rescue Facebook photo)
Fishing boat catches fire in Port Hardy, owner’s quick thinking puts out flames

The incident is a good reminder to always have a working fire extinguisher onboard your boat

School District 85 logo
Fort Rupert Elementary School gets funding from MusiCounts

The $1 million investment will support 95 schools

Agree or disagree with North Island Rising? Write a letter to the editor at editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish it online and in print.
McQuarrie: Budget meeting drama caused by unruly councillor

It was an amazing and unexpected response to what should have been… Continue reading

The medical clinic building in Port McNeill. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Medical clinic gives update on health care in Port McNeill

The town appears to be ‘closer to a new and sustainable medical model for our town’

New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)
New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Most Read