TORONTO, ON: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is disappointed with the Federal Court’s decision in the matter of Yates et al v. Canada, a constitutional challenge to the mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app, which was released on July 19th 2023, where the Court found no errors in the Motion Judge’s decision that the Application was moot.
The decision will be reviewed thoroughly, and an update will be provided in due course with respect to potential next steps.
On December 20, 2021, the Federal Government required Canadians who were unvaccinated, or who were vaccinated but did not use ArriveCAN, to undergo testing and mandatory quarantine upon returning to Canada.
The Applicants in the constitutional challenge are Canadians who refused to disclose their vaccination status via the ArriveCAN app, asserting the privacy and constitutional rights. Many of the Applicants have received fines of up to $8,500 and are still facing prosecution on those fines.
On August 24 2022, they filed an application that challenged the constitutionality of ArriveCAN. Soon after, the Government brought a motion to strike the Applicants’ case on the basis that it is moot since on September 30 2022, the Federal Government dropped the ArriveCAN requirement. On March 16, 2023, an associate judge of the Federal Court dismissed the constitutional challenge, holding that there were no live issues for the Court to consider. Further, the Court decided not to exercise its discretion to hear moot cases.
The Federal Court of Appeal heard the appeal on June 13, 2023, in which the request was made to review and overturn the Federal Court’s decision not to consider the merits of the case due to mootness. Lawyers for the Applicants argued that a decision from the Federal Court would swiftly resolve the constitutional arguments that would otherwise clog lower courts, where prosecution of Canadians who did not use the ArriveCAN app are proceeding across the country.