Justice Centre sues federal government for forcible confinement of travellers
TORONTO: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has filed legal action against the Federal Government in response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declaring to media that Canadians returning from travel will be forcibly confined in hotels at a cost of $2,000 per traveler even though they return in possession of a negative PCR test.
The Justice Centre first sent a legal demand letter to Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra on January 29, 2021 warning it would sue in Federal Court if the government proceeded with its threat to confine returning Canadians at secret locations, even those who had already tested negative for Covid.
The Justice Centre represents 13 individual applicants, including Steve Duesing, pictured above, in the comprehensive new lawsuit and is advising dozens more. The non-profit law firm and registered charity has received thousands of emails of outrage from travelling Canadians since the federal government first announced that all citizens, regardless of their reason for travel, would be forced to have a Covid PCR test in order to board an airplane to return to Canada, then be forced to take another PCR test on arrival, and then be forcibly confined for up to three days while waiting for a negative test result, and also be forced to pay $2,000.
Anyone who tests positive after returning to Canada will be “immediately required to quarantine in designated government facilities,” according to Mr. Trudeau. The government is contracting security guards to enforce mandatory quarantines, with the added threat of arrest and jail for Canadians who refuse to be forcibly confined in a federal facility. On February 9, the government announced that anyone arriving by land without a negative PCR test could face fines up to $3,000. As of February 22, travellers will also be required to submit to another Covid test towards the end of a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Additional applicants may be added to the legal action as the Justice Centre proceeds.
Justice Centre lawyer Sayeh Hassan notes that Canadians travel for many reasons and the Charter guarantees the fundamental right to enter and leave Canada. “Prime Minister Trudeau has arbitrarily made special exceptions for Olympic athletes and their support teams, for example,” notes Ms. Hassan.
“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. Law enforcement officers are apparently refusing to inform family members of where their loved ones are being held. This outrageous policy aligns with the world’s most repressive and undemocratic regimes and is totally unacceptable,” adds Ms. Hassan.
“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."