Monday,  April 12, 2021  3:56 pm

CCF appears in Ontario court in stop federal hotel quarantine


CCF appears in Ontario court in stop federal hotel quarantine
The CCF has filed an application with Ontario's Superior Court of Justice seeking an end Canada's hotel quarantine policy. (CCF)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) is appearing in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice at 10 a.m. EST today (March 19) to seek an injunction to stop the federal quarantine hotel program.

The CCF is in court along with five individual applicants who are either seeking to travel imminently, or have just returned from travelling.

The five travellers are all seeking to travel or have just travelled for compassionate reasons, the CCF wrote in a press release. 

READ MORE: PHAC fines hotel quarantine offenders; legal challenge launched

Debate and legal explanations about the constitutional rights of Canadians have swirled about on social media ever since reports of air passengers refusing Canada’s quarantine requirement by purposely walking out of airports began to surface.

Traveller Steve Duesing stuck in hotel quarantine. (The Justice Centre/jccf.ca)

Earlier this month, it was reported that the Government of Canada has issued 15 tickets to travellers who arrived in Canada without a hotel quarantine booking and who refused to stay in a quarantine hotel.

According to a report by CityNews on March 10, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) issued most offenders a fine of $3,000 under the Quarantine Act. Although, it's unclear if that is the total, or for each day of non-compliance, as described under the act.

No to "prison hotels"

The CCF began challenging the legalities of hotel quarantine by launching a petition in September called "No to Quarantine Prison Hotels.”

The CCF is a charitable organization that defends the constitutional rights of Canadians before the courts and before the public option.

READ MORE: What data informed Canada’s hotel quarantine decision? Health officials can’t say

In its view, hotel quarantine 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," stated Christine Van Geyn, director of litigation at the CCF.

The organization is arguing that hotel quarantine requirements are "overbroad, arbitrary and grossly disproportionate."

Canada’s controversial hotel quarantine program, which kicked off last month, requires international arrivals to stay for up to three nights in a government-approved hotel while awaiting PCR test results.

The Justice Centre, a legal organization that "defends citizens fundamental freedoms," has also challenged the Canadian government on its hotel policy.

READ MORE: Hotel quarantine program off to rocky start

Last month, the organization sent a legal demand letter to Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra warning it would sue in Federal Court if the government proceeded with its threat to confine returning Canadians.

“Citizens are being held unlawfully despite not having been convicted of any offence, not having had access to a lawyer, and not having appeared before a judge. Law enforcement officers are apparently refusing to inform family members of where their loved ones are being held,” wrote Justice Centre lawyer Sayeh Hassan.

“This outrageous policy aligns with the world’s most repressive and undemocratic regimes and is totally unacceptable.”


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