Nevertheless, the court raised concerns about a pastor’s rights being violated when she was confined to a quarantine hotel against her will.
Canada’s federal court has ruled that quarantine hotels imposed by the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau since January — and for which travelers must pay — are constitutional.
The court, however, also ruled that a pastor’s rights were violated when she was confined to a quarantine hotel against her will.
Chief Justice of the Federal Court Paul Crampton issued the ruling today in response to four separate legal challenges with 14 applicants against the mandatory quarantine hotels.
“The impugned measures were within the authority of the AIC [Governor in Council, in this context know as the Administrator in Council] and were within the jurisdiction of the federal government.
“Finally, the impugned measures do not contravene section 1(a) of the Bill of Rights. Accordingly, these Applications will be dismissed,” concluded Crampton.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) was part of the lawsuit against the federal government and represented 10 clients.
One of its clients included Pastor Nicole Mathis. The JCCF said she “was forced against her will” into a “federal quarantine facility and detained for three nights” because her negative COVID-19 test was not accepted by Canadian Public Health officials.
The JCCF noted it was pleased that the court found that Mathis’ rights were “unjustifiably infringed by authorities” because she was not informed of her right to counsel “upon detention,” and that her family was not informed where she was being taken to.
“Those violations of Ms. Mathis’ rights cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. The evidence establishes that the first of those violations has since been remedied by the requirement that travelers who are required to stay in a GAA must book their own reservation there.”
The JCCF said it is “disappointed with the Federal Court ruling” and that the decision “will be reviewed thoroughly with a view to appeal.”
“Never in post Charter history have law-abiding Canadians been detained en masse against their will, with no regard for the fundamental freedoms this country was founded on,” said JCCF lawyer and Litigation Director Jay Cameron.
“The Federal Court’s finding that these heavy-handed measures are constitutional is deeply concerning. Canadians continue to wait anxiously for the courts of the land to draw boundaries around the increasingly authoritarian measures of government regarding Covid. We are reviewing the decision carefully.”
The JCCF had argued that “mandatory quarantine of law-abiding Canadian citizens in federally mandated facilities violated their rights to enter and leave Canada freely pursuant to their rights under S. 6(1) of the Charter.”
“It violated their rights not to be arbitrarily detained, their right to speak to counsel upon their detention and their rights to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and the right to have their detention contested in court,” noted the JCCF.
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 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 stay, a person is then permitted to leave the hotel, but is told to quarantine at home for 14 days.
Only four airports in Canada — Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal — currently service international flights.
The government recently increased the fines for those who do not comply with the quarantine rules from $3,000 to $5,000.
Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu recently confirmed that, starting in early July, Canadians who have had the full two doses of a COVID-19 shot do not have to quarantine for 14 days, as long as they produce a negative test.
Trudeau recently said he was looking to ease border restrictions, but only for those who had been “fully vaccinated.”
Today, the Trudeau government decided to extend Canada’s border closure with the United States until July 21. The current closure agreement was set to expire on June 21.
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