Federal court has announced a decision regarding the interim injunction regarding Canada’s mandatory hotel quarantine and quarantine facility policies for international arrivals.
Last February, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms filed legal action against the federal government for what it says will forcibly confine Canadians returning from travel in hotels, at a high cost, even when they are in possession of a negative PCR test.
Its interim injunction would have applied to nine clients who travelled under different sets of circumstances and found themselves facing a mandatory three-night stay in a quarantine hotel.
The Justice Centre is a legal organization and federally-registered charity that is arguing that Canada’s quarantine rules violate people’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Applicants’ motion for an injunction was ultimately dismissed with all applicants being ordered to bear their own costs.
“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,” wrote Justice William F. Pentney in his decision, which you can view here. “However, I do not accept that doing so exposes these travellers to any significant security risk, given the evidence of the measures that have been put in place at these facilities.”
History demonstrates why the “bulwark of the robust protection of Charter rights by an independent judiciary is so important in times of crisis,” the decision went on to read.
“A public health emergency, like the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, is in one sense simply another emergency,” he wrote. “However, it must also be recognized that it is a type of situation that can inspire irrational fears and passions, which may in turn provoke a government to adopt excessive measures that trench unduly on the rights and freedoms of individuals.”
It is therefore necessary to “subject government rationale” for any emergency to a degree of scrutiny that is proportional to the risk that Charter rights may have been impaired by actions based on irrational fears rather than the careful weighing of competing interests based on the evidence.”
A hearing on the constitutionality of quarantine hotels and quarantine facilities is scheduled for June 1-3, 2021.
Justice Centre lawyer Sayeh Hassan previously called hotel quarantine an "outrageous policy."
“Citizens are being held unlawfully despite not having been convicted of any offence, not having had access to a lawyer, and not having appeared before a judge. Law enforcement officers are apparently refusing to inform family members of where their loved ones are being held," she said in a previous statement. "This outrageous policy aligns with the world’s most repressive and undemocratic regimes and is totally unacceptable."
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!