Agency Owners, Consumer Lawsuits Challenge Mandatory Hotel Quarantine

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw


“I think it’s politically popular, and I think it’s stemming from the politicians and health care senior management that were travelling while we were locked down.”

Tripcentral.ca’s president, Richard Vanderlubbe, is just one member of the travel agency community lashing out at Ottawa’s new hotel quarantine regulations. On CBC News’ The National, he called the government’s decision arbitrary and not supported by data. Further, he said the moves were driven by politics and optics.

“I think it has been designed to reduce the amount of travel and it’s done a good job of that, but it’s unfair to the people who are stuck in the middle of it,” Vanderlubbe said.

Instead, measures like rapid testing and contact tracing, for both domestic and international travel “make a lot of sense,” he noted.



Even as Canada’s travel community takes to the airwaves to question and condemn Ottawa’s new hotel quarantine policy that came into effect Monday, at least two groups are already taking the federal government to court, Canadian Press reports.

Non-profit organization Faces of Advocacy, which filed a challenge to the measure in Quebec Superior Court on Monday, calls the strict measures excessive, disproportionate and arbitrary, saying they infringe on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“This measure contributes to the fracturing of the family unit and isolates potentially vulnerable people far from their families,” the suit claims.

In a statement, group founder David Poon said Ottawa should grant exemptions to the obligatory quarantines to allow those with families to isolate in their homes, which would be safe and more affordable.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms says it has received “thousands of emails of outrage from travelling Canadians” since the new rules were announced. In a statement published on its website on 12FEB, the non-profit said it already represents 13 individual applicants in a lawsuit currently underway.

“These 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. This outrageous policy aligns with the world’s most repressive and undemocratic regimes and is totally unacceptable,” states lawyer and Justice Centre President John Carpay.

“Quarantine, particularly of healthy or asymptomatic individuals, is the functional equivalent of house arrest and the Justice Centre will not allow it to continue unchallenged.”

And at least one lawyer says travellers can’t legally be forced to follow the rules anyway.

CityNews reports one woman walking straight out of Toronto’s Pearson Airport without any enforcement officials getting involved.

Cara Zwibel, a lawyer with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, told CityNews it would be difficult for the government to forcibly take people to hotels if they refuse to go. Zwibel has been asking Ottawa to provide data on how many travellers have not been complying with the previous 14-day quarantine, but hasn’t received the information. Zwibel says this means the government knows the new rules could be a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.


Comments

sam - February 24, 2021 @ 11:29
pehaps months ago when people travelled how many did quaratine when they returned home-also if living with others that did not travel then they returned to the same household---people forget the home in Barrie-a worker brought the variant into the home from someone they lived with that returned from the UK--these seniors did not travel --the worker brought it in
people do hate rules-if they can afford to travel they can go to a hotel--much of the travel over the months with lesser rules--people travelling did bring the virus back into the country--people travel all over the world
everything anymore is a court case
no different when travelling to some countries you need a visa--also needles updated--valid passports
remember people change the rules--just like when lockdown told to stay in your own area---some did not do that they travelled outside ---
if people do not want to do this--then start doing the right thing
if they drop having to quarantine at a hotel--then do what you are supposed to do-changes are made for a reason
when you see on the news houses in Toronto operating casinos -then too many people there are they following the rules- weddings with too many?
everyone uses a cell phone lots of information on it

Stephen Cook - February 24, 2021 @ 09:18
Please share who we can write to and where we send it to put a stop to this outrageous infringement of the basic fundamentals of our freedom under the charter of rights. This is a political hijack of the virus in its simplest form.

Evan Frank - February 23, 2021 @ 16:41
Addendum>today, the booking information indicates only phone numbers and hours of operation. Travel companies are required by law (provincial) to indicate full information and the registration number. Hmmmm........perhaps this is just another scam readily sanctioned by Federal and Provincial governments.

Evan Frank - February 23, 2021 @ 16:26
Once again, governments are completely overlooking the travel agency community in Canada and taking the opportunity to support a US based operation American Express Global. The next day they revised the booking agency to be GB Travel Company based in YYZ but is actually a division of AX.
We travel agents are getting used to being slapped in the face by governments, when this would have been a perfect opportunity to generate some business when the governments have removed products that we could sell! The fiasco our clients are dealing with today is an embarassment & also appears illegal.
Clients are contacting us to book/rebook and agents should be handling this as we know what to do and realize that offering booking hours that cater only to NorthAmerica is ludicrous.
Do not give us a story about hotels meeting standards as we all know that anything open is 100% within PPE guidelines!
Mr Trudeau.....you had a golden opportunity to show your empathy to our community but again, decided to opt for another fiasco such as you and your
colleagues did by delaying lockdowns to 26DEC so you could be assured that there would be gatherings directly caused the surges.

Katie Watson - February 23, 2021 @ 16:09
The freedoms being taken away worldwide with the excuse of "safety" is frightening.

Dyan Cross - February 23, 2021 @ 15:19
Incarceration was abuse of power then and is abuse of power now.
In 1942 the Liberal government of W. L. Mackenzie King forcefully relocated Japanese Canadians to internment camps in the name of national security. In 2021 the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau forcefully interred international air travelling Canadians in hostage hotels in the name of viral security. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Be it a “camp” or a “hotel” or our “home”, abuse of power is still abuse of power whether by digital projection doctors or panicked politicians. Over 90 percent of our population is minimally affected by covid and all its virus variants. Isolate the immunocompromised and elderly and free the rest of us from state-sponsored incarceration

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