Coronavirus: Injunction against quarantine hotel policy denied, constitutional hearing underway

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Coronavirus: Injunction against quarantine hotel policy denied, constitutional hearing underway


TORONTO – A constitutional rights group has lost its bid for an injunction against the federal government’s quarantine hotel policy designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Canadian Constitution Foundation had sought the injunction pending a court ruling on the constitutionality of the policy on inbound international travelers.

The foundation was acting on behalf of five people who had to leave Canada for compassionate purposes – three of them to care for a dying relative.

“This was not the result we wanted today, but the court recognized that the candidates for our challenge had sympathetic histories and that the constitutional questions had to be heard on the merits,” said Christine Van Geyn, director. litigation of the defense group.

“The tribunal also recognized that the applicants’ liberty rights under section 7 of the Charter are covered by the policy on quarantine hotels,” he said.

A government ordinance that went into effect on February 14 states that anyone entering Canada from abroad must stay in a federally approved hotel for the first three nights of a 14-day quarantine.

Travelers must pay for their government-approved accommodation while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test which they must take on arrival.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation argues in its legal application that quarantine requirements in hotels are “excessive, arbitrary and grossly disproportionate.”

In dismissing the injunction request, Justice Frederick L. Myers said the plaintiffs would not suffer irreparable harm in the few weeks leading up to a hearing on the constitutionality of the policy.

Myers also said the public interest in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and variants of the virus outweighed arguments for an injunction that would temporarily suspend the order, which expires on April 21.

He said in his ruling that the candidates’ real dismay is that they are forced to spend money when they think they can safely quarantine their homes.

“However, according to the data and opinions of those with knowledge and experience in the scientific study of the problem, and not just on Twitter, there are serious increased risks presented by the arrival of planes carrying an aircraft. higher proportion of people with COVID-19 and its variants, ”says Myers.

The CCF is asking that a hearing on the constitutionality of the policy on the mandatory quarantine of hotels be expedited. They argue that because travelers continue to arrive at four of Canada’s international airports on a daily basis, this is an urgent problem.

“We look forward to the hearing on the whole constitutional question, and we are proud of the work done to help these travelers, who must leave Canada for compassionate reasons,” said Van Geyn.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 22, 2021.

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