TORONTO, ONTARIO- The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) announced that 11 Canadians, who were forced into quarantine hotels at their own expense, will appear before the Federal Court of Appeal tomorrow, represented by lawyers provided by the Justice Centre, to challenge the lower court’s decision upholding mandatory hotel quarantines. The appeal will be heard at 9:30am (ET) at 180 Queen Street West, 7th Floor on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.
In January 2021, the federal government implemented measures which forcibly confined Canadians who were deemed “unable to quarantine.”. Canadians returning home were considered “unable to quarantine” if they would not provide a negative PCR test upon entry. In February 2021, the government required Canadians arriving by air to quarantine in a government approved facility for three days while waiting for their on-arrival test results, at their own expense, sometimes costing up to two thousand dollars per person.
With lawyers provided by the Justice Centre, 11 Canadians challenged the constitutionality of federal government’s mandatory quarantine of travellers in hotels at their own expense.
One of these Canadians, Pastor Nicole Mathis, returned to Canada on January 26, 2021. Upon her arrival, she was informed by the Public Health Agency of Canada that the proof of the negative antigen test that she provided was not sufficient, and that she would have to go to the government mandated facility, or else she would be forcibly taken there by police.
While in June 2021, the Federal Court decided that the mandatory hotel quarantine measures were constitutional, it did find that Pastor Mathis’ right to counsel was infringed. As a result, the federal government was directed to advise all travelers that they had a right to speak to a lawyer before being directed to a quarantine facility or a quarantine hotel.
Lawyers funded by the Justice Centre will argue that the federal government’s forcible confinement of healthy people was an unconstitutional infringement of their rights. They will also resist a motion brought by the federal government to have the challenged dismissed as “moot” because the measures no longer exist. Despite an order by the Court to expedite the appeal, it has taken over one year for the appeal to be heard.
“The federal requirement to force returning Canadians into quarantine hotels was unscientific, unprecedented, and ought never to be repeated in this country,” states Allison Pejovic, constitutional lawyer. “To confine healthy Canadians into isolation facilities against their will was to treat them like criminals. Those draconian measures lacked justification, and Canadians need the Federal Court of Appeal to rule on this very important case.”