So far, it seems like news agencies are able to report on what the government says, like: CTV reporting that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says: “hundreds of fines have been issued” to air travellers arriving in Canada who refuse to quarantine in a hotel. However, it seems like there has yet to be any concrete examples of who these people are?
Mandatory Hotel Stay
We have written extensively about the quarantine process. Basically, air travellers must prove that they booked a 3-night hotel stay (at their stopover airport, if it is not their final destination) before arriving in Canada. This is in addition to providing a negative test result before boarding their flight to Canada, as well as taking another test before immediately heading to the government approved hotel.
Fines and Penalties
The fines can be as severe as $3,000 for not staying at a government approved hotel.
The punishments for violating any instructions provided to passengers when entering Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act that could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
Furthermore, breaking the mandatory quarantine or isolation requirements that may cause the death or serious bodily harm to another person can incur a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to 3 years or both.
No Fines Issued Yet
However, even though news agencies like CBC reported that more than 500 air passengers fined for defying hotel quarantine rules, they found no evidence that fines were actually issued. These two paragraphs caught my attention in the story:
- The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) told CBC News last week it was “aware” of 513 tickets being issued to air passengers who arrived in Toronto or Vancouver between Feb. 22 and April 25 and refused to go to a quarantine hotel. The agency said that in those cities, both PHAC officers and police can issue tickets.
- PHAC said the rules are different in Calgary and Montreal, so to check with local authorities for statistics on tickets. CBC did and found no indication that any had been issued.
So has there or has there not been any fines issues? I personally would have thought that by now we would see legal challenges from people refusing to pay the $3,000 fines that would hit the news by now.
Conversely, I doubt the government is lying, so maybe the people who were actually fined are keeping things low key by paying the fine so that they can move on with their lives?
Stiffer Penalties on its Way?
It sounds like the Prime Minister of Canada did warn that we could see stiffer penalties for people not following the rules. My thought initial thought was what’s the point of stiffer rules if the current ones are not being fully enforced in the first place.
Either way, please be safe everyone!