TORONTO, ONTARIO: The Justice Centre today expressed its disappointment that the Federal Court of Appeal decided not to hear the Appellants’ appeal of the Federal Court’s decision dismissing their application for judicial review of the federal orders which forced returning Canadian travellers into “Quarantine Hotels”. In Spencer v Canada and Bexte v Canada, the Court found that the appeal was “moot” and refused to hear it, on the basis that the orders mandating the hotel stays were no longer in effect, and that there was therefore no longer a “live controversy” between the parties. The Court could have chosen to hear the appeal as a matter of public interest in spite of the lack of a live controversy between the parties, but exercised its discretion not to hear the appeal.
This decision is disappointing and highly concerning as it permits government actions that severely violated Canadians’ Charter rights to go unaddressed because of the passage of time and the government’s choice to not continue those particular Charter violating actions. In essence, it will permit governments to continue with future unprecedented draconian measures against Canadians without judicial checks and balances. There are instances such as these where Canadians cannot get their cases before the courts quickly enough before governments remove these measures in order for them to be properly adjudicated through the court system. Such a result is a grave injustice.