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Federal Court rules isolation hotels violate Charter protection against arbitrary detention, decline

TORONTO: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms today announces that the Federal Court has released the Decision on the interim injunction regarding the federal hotel quarantine and quarantine facility policies. The interim injunction would have applied to nine Justice Centre clients who travelled under different sets of circumstances and found themselves facing detention in federal facilities upon arrival in Canada.

While the Court did not issue the interim injunction, it found that both Charter Section 7- the right to life liberty and security of person, and Section 9 - the right not to be arbitrarily detained are engaged by the federal quarantine policies and were serious issues to be tried at a further trial.

The Court also accepted without reserve the Justice Centre’s reminder that in a time of emergency, the role of an independent judiciary in safeguarding Charter rights and freedoms takes on additional importance (see paragraph 124 of the Decision.) The Court went on to say: “History demonstrates why the bulwark of the robust protection of Charter rights by an independent judiciary is so important in times of crisis.” The full hearing on the constitutionality of quarantine hotels and quarantine facilities is scheduled for June 1-3, 2021.

“The forced isolation of returning Canadian air travellers is arbitrary, unnecessary, and totalitarian”, states Justice Centre Litigation Director, Jay Cameron. “These quarantine hotels and restrictive measures are more consistent with a dictatorship than a free society. We look forward to the full hearing of these issues in early June.”

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