Canadian Federal court judge: Quarantine hotels a ‘serious issue’ that will be put on trial
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TORONTO, Ontario, April 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – A Canadian federal court judge has said “there can be little doubt” that Canadians rights’ to liberty and security of person are challenged by COVID-19 rules which mandate a quarantine hotel stay for those entering Canada by air.
“At this stage of the case, I am not prepared to reject out of hand the Applicants’ argument that their liberty has been constrained in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. [...] Indeed, there can be little doubt that a government rule that requires individuals to go to, and to remain at, a particular location on pain of fine or jail will engage section 7 liberty interests,” wrote federal court Judge William F. Pentney in an April 23 ruling.
Judge Pentney’s ruling came about because of legal action being taken against the Canadian federal government’s COVID-19 quarantine hotels by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), on behalf of 11 applicants.
In a news release today, the JCCF said that the court found that both Charter Section 7- the right to life liberty and security of person, and Section 9 - the right not to be arbitrarily detained are “engaged by the federal quarantine policies and were serious issues to be tried at a further trial.”
The JCCF had been in court over the past few weeks to seek an injunction to “put an immediate stop to Trudeau’s quarantine hotels and facilities until a full hearing can be heard on the matter.”
While the JCCF said the court did not grant the interim injunction, it was pleased that the judge “accepted without reserve” that an independent judiciary is important in protecting Canadians rights in times of emergencies.
“I accept without reserve the Applicants’ reminder that in a time of emergency, the role of an independent judiciary in safeguarding the rights and freedoms guaranteed to Canadians by the Charter takes on additional importance. History demonstrates why the bulwark of the robust protection of Charter rights by an independent judiciary is so important in times of crisis,” wrote Pentney.
JCCF lawyer Jay Cameron told LifeSiteNews that at the June hearing, the “government will be forced 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,” said Cameron.
“The Federal Court’s finding that sections 7 and 9 of the Charter are engaged signifies that we are dealing with an issue of fundamental justice. At the hearing in early June the government will be forced to account for the incarceration of Canadians without due process.”
A full hearing on the “constitutionality of quarantine hotels and quarantine facilities” is slated to be held from June 1-3, 2021 says the JCCF.
The JCCF filed legal action back in February in response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Order-in-Council which mandated that Canadians returning by air had to be confined to quarantine hotels for three days upon return, despite a negative COVID-19 test.
In early January, the Canadian federal government enacted new rules which required all air travelers coming into Canada to present a negative PCR or LAMP COVID-19 test to their airline before being allowed to board their flight.
In late January, the Canadian federal government introduced further restrictions for incoming air travelers. The government announced that “all air travellers … with very limited exceptions” would have to submit to a mandatory hotel quarantine for at least three nights while waiting for test results from a mandatory COVID-19 test given upon arrival.
Before arrival in Canada, passengers must reserve online and pay for a spot at a government-approved hotel. If a negative test result comes in during the three-day forced stay, a person is then allowed to quarantine at home for 14 days.
Only four airports in Canada—Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal—currently service international flights.
The government has said that all passengers have to pay for their stay, which amounts to roughly $2,000.