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Canadian Government drops $3450 ticket issued against woman who rescued dogs from Costa Rica

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to announce that the federal government has dropped a ticket for $3,450 issued against a woman who travelled to Costa Rica and returned with three rescued dogs. The client, “Sunshine” (not her real name) and her three pups Bella, Sparky and Pablo, crossed into Canada by land after flying into Seattle.

Early in 2021, the woman travelled to Costa Rica for medical reasons and while there came across three sick and abandoned dogs, one of whom had been hit by a car. The woman was determined to find loving homes for the dogs in Canada. She flew with them to Seattle because flight restrictions prevented her from flying directly into Canada.

As required by Transport Canada, the woman had obtained a negative PCR test but was delayed while attempting to cross the border with the dogs.

When she presented herself at the border, the government agents told her that she would have go to Washington to get another PCR test or stay in a domestic quarantine hotel because her test had expired 24 hours earlier. Due to the difficulty of finding a hotel that would care for the three dogs, the woman decided to cross the border by road and was issued a $3450 ticket for not presenting a valid PCR test, and for refusing to stay at one of the federal government’s federal isolation facilities.

“The rules for returning travelers are not only arbitrary and oppressive, they are also devoid of compassion and flexibility,” stated Jay Cameron, Litigation Director with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. “Our client is a not a health risk to the country. There is no rational reason why she cannot quarantine in her own home as opposed to in one of the federal government’s internment facilities.”

Justice Centre lawyers appeared in Federal Court in the first week of June on behalf of eleven clients who are challenging the government's policy of forcing returning Canadians into a federally approved hotel at their own expense. The Justice Centre maintains that sequestering travelers in federal facilities is a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Federal Court ruled that forcing returning Canadians to be confined to federal facilities against their will is not an infringement of their Charter rights. The decision will be appealed.

"The forced detention of returning Canadian air travelers in federal facilities is arbitrary, unnecessary, and totalitarian," states Justice Centre Litigation Director, Jay Cameron.

"These unconstitutional hotel quarantines were imposed on Canadians without parliamentary scrutiny or debate by a government that has repeatedly demonstrated it has little respect for the Charter of the democratic process. Canadians across the country are anxiously waiting for the judiciary to impose limits on government overreach of this type as has happened repeatedly in other countries around the world," adds Mr. Cameron.

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