A very cautious easing of restrictions for sure, but looks like the mandatory quarantine rules are starting to get phased out

More legal challenges for hotel quarantine requirement; Unifor chimes in

TORONTO — Canada’s controversial mandatory hotel quarantine requirement is getting more legal challenges.

According to the National Post, four challenges are now under review by Paul Crampton, Chief Justice of the Federal Court.

“This is not what we do in Canada, we do not detain law-abiding citizens en masse,” said lawyer Sayeh Hassan.

The National Post notes that Hassan questions how long the hotel quarantine rule will be in place, with more COVID-19 variants widely seen as inevitable.

The 14 applicants in the four challenges say Canada’s mandatory hotel quarantine rule, in place since mid-Feb. 2021 and requiring a three-day quarantine at a federally designated airport hotel for all travellers entering or returning to Canada pending negative COVID-19 test results – violates their rights according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The extension of Canada’s travel restrictions, including the mandatory hotel quarantine, has been rolled over until at least June 21.

Last week a government advisory panel submitted its report on Canada’s travel restrictions. While the panel said Canada’s requirement for air travellers to quarantine for up to three days at a hotel is an expensive, inconsistent policy that contains loopholes and should be scrapped, so far there are no indications the government plans to do so.

 

“WE NEED TO GET CANADA’S AVIATION SECTOR SAFELY OFF THE GROUND”

Since the report’s release numerous industry groups and coalitions including the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) and the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable have come out in favour of the panel’s recommendations to eliminate the hotel quarantine rule, and to streamline Canada’s other travel restrictions in light of the country’s climbing vaccination rates.

Now Unifor is adding its voice to the chorus. In a statement issued today, Unifor said it welcomes Health Canada’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel’s latest recommendations to optimize testing and quarantine at Canada’s borders.

 

“We need to get Canada’s aviation sector safely off the ground again,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President. “These recommendations provide a road map to do just that, following science and good data.”

Dias notes that the panel called for an end to government mandated hotel quarantine, coupled with increased monitoring of personal quarantine plans and the introduction of a PCR test on day seven that, if negative, could mean early release from isolation. He says Unifor sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau today, voicing its support for these recommendations.

For months, Unifor has pushed for a National Recovery Plan for the Aviation Industry, including a comprehensive plan for re-opening Canada’s borders, dynamic quarantine, and a plan to ensure good jobs and social sustainability for the industry’s workers.

Given the release of the panel report, the ongoing expansion of vaccine rollouts across Canada and the release of provincial restart plans, the government must now push ahead with a safe plan forward for international travel and a further recovery plan for the aviation industry, he says.

“Our members have been laid-off for far too long,” said Dias. “Workers in aviation and across Canada’s travel and tourism industries need the federal government to chart a course so these industries – which have been decimated during COVID-19 – can not only survive, but thrive well beyond the pandemic.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy.

More from Dias can be read in Travelweek’s exclusive April 2021 interview here.