$6,255 ticket dropped for Ontario woman who could not stay in quarantine hotel

MISSISSAUGA, ON: The Justice Centre is pleased to announce that Crown prosecutors have entered a stay of proceedings against an Ontario woman who was ticketed and fined $6,255 for not staying in a quarantine hotel upon her arrival into Canada.

The Ontario woman (who prefers to remain anonymous) was returning to Canada after a visit to New York on August 3, 2021. She suffers from chronic pain syndrome, which sometimes requires the assistance of a wheelchair and the assistance of friends and family for her personal care. Prior to her departure for New York, her chronic pain worsened and had not subsided by the time she returned to the Canadian border.

This Ontario woman was therefore not able to quarantine in any of the quarantine hotels designated by the Government of Canada. Quarantine regulations prohibited Canadians from returning directly to their own homes upon returning to Canada and required Canadians to pay out-of-pocket for a three-day hotel stay. Instead, she had made alternative arrangements to quarantine for 14 days in a separate area of her home, with the assistance of her mother. She believed she had established the safest quarantine plan–one that would prevent her from contracting or transmitting Covid. Her traveller intake form at the Canadian border indicated that she had established a suitable alternative quarantine plan.

For not staying in a government-designated quarantine location, she was ticketed and fined $6,255.

Lawyer Charlene Le Beau argued that her client should have qualified for a medical exemption under the Order in Council in effect at the time, and that, because she had established a suitable quarantine plan, the ticket should be dropped. Further, Ms. Le Beau also pointed out that 25 months had elapsed between the time the ticket had been issued and the trial date, and that this was an “unreasonable delay,” pursuant to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 11(b) of the Charter states that “[a]ny persons charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time.”

Crown prosecutors entered a stay of proceedings, and the ticket and fine have been dropped.

Ms. Le Beau, a lawyer in the Justice Centre litigation network, stated, “The right to be tried for a charge within a reasonable time is a fundamental principle of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and a trial 25 months after the date of a charge would not have been reasonable.”

John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre, stated, “We are happy that justice has been achieved in this particular case, even if it took too long. However, this victory does not undo the damage which the federal government inflicted on thousands of Canadians through its dangerous and utterly unscientific policy of locking Canadians up in prison hotels, thereby causing more contact and more interactions with more people.”

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