Ontario’s court system has rejected a requested injunction aimed at stopping the Canadian government’s hotel quarantine program.
Last week, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) appeared in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to seek an injunction to stop Ottawa’s controversial quarantine program that requires international arrivals to pay for three nights at a government-approved hotel while awaiting PCR test results.
The CCF was in court along with five individual applicants who were either seeking to travel imminently, or have just returned from travelling.
On Monday (March 22), it was revealed that Justice Frederick Myers has dismissed the motion, writing in his decision:
“On the evidence before me so far, the government is being anything but draconian. It is employing the precautionary principle to take measured but needed steps to prevent or delay the variants from taking hold in Canada as vaccines are coming online.”
“…the balance of convenience strongly favours the government and the public interest over concerns of the few people who find themselves wanting or needing to travel abroad during the pandemic and who wish to socialize the costs of containing the risks they represent to all upon their return.”
The CCF, an organization that defends the constitutional rights of Canadians before the courts and before the public option, began challenging the legalities of hotel quarantine by launching a petition in September called "No to Quarantine Prison Hotels.”
In its view, Ottawa’s hotel quarantine program does not constitute a legitimate limit on the rights of Canadians.
“Our Charter explicitly protects the right of Canadians to enter, remain and leave Canada. The imposition of these "quarantine prison hotels" is a clear violation of the right of Canadians to enter their own country," Christine Van Geyn, director of litigation at the CCF, previously stated.
In a statement issued on Monday, Van Geyn wrote that: “This was not the result we wanted today, but the court did recognize that the applicants in our challenge have sympathetic stories and that the constitutional questions need to be heard on the merits."
"The court also acknowledged that the applicants’ section 7 Charter liberty interests are engaged by the quarantine hotel policy."
Van Geyn concluded: “We look forward to the hearing on the full constitutional question, and we are proud of the work were are doing assisting these travellers, who need to leave Canada for compassionate reasons. We will seek to expedite the hearing, as these travellers have urgent needs to go and be with their ailing loved ones outside of Canada."
The decision is available online here.
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