TORONTO: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms will be in Federal Court today in Toronto, on behalf of eleven clients who are challenging the government’s policy of forcing returning Canadians into a federally approved hotel for quarantine at their own expense. The Applicants: Barbara Spencer, Sabry Belhouchet, Blain Gowing, Dennis Ward, Reid Nehring, Cindy Crane, Denise Thomson, Norman Thomson, and Michel Lafontaine, Steven Duesing and Nicole Mathis are represented by the Justice Centre’s Sayeh Hassan and Henna Parmar, who will be in court for three days arguing quarantine hotels are unconstitutional and a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Effective midnight on January 7, 2021, the federal government made an interim order via Transport Canada that proof of a negative Covid laboratory test result must be presented to an airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be conducted within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled time of departure to Canada. A second announcement made on February 12, 2021 forced Canadians to have a second test on arrival and be quarantined three days in a federally approved hotel at their expense, while waiting for the results.
The new mandatory quarantine took effect on February 22, 2021. In a letter sent shortly afterward, the Justice Centre demanded that the Trudeau Government stop the practice immediately and release anyone they may be currently holding in federal quarantine. Shortly afterward the Justice Centre commenced litigation in Federal Court on behalf of its clients.
“The forced detention of returning Canadian air travellers in federal facilities is arbitrary, unnecessary, and totalitarian”, states Justice Centre Litigation Director, Jay Cameron.
“These unconstitutional hotel quarantines were imposed on Canadians without parliamentary scrutiny or debate by a government that has repeatedly demonstrated it has little respect for the Charter or the democratic process. Canadians across the country are anxiously waiting for the judiciary to impose limits on government overreach of this type as has happened repeatedly in other countries around the world.