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

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

Kerry Reed
West Kootenay Fishing Report: Spring fishing, the bite is on!!

Anglers having great results on Kootenay Lake and Columbia River

File photo
Paramedic training returning to Castlegar

Emergency Medical Responder and Primary Care Paramedic training to take place in Castlegar

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Most Read