Charges against Rachid Chadli for refusing to attend a quarantine hotel in 2021 have been dropped. The charges were withdrawn by the Crown Counsel after counsel for Mr. Chadli argued there was excessive delay, which breached Mr. Chadli’s right to be tried within a reasonable time, guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In February 2021, the federal government required all travelers returning to Canada to quarantine at designated hotels at their own expense for at least three nights. Mr. Chadli left Canada before the measures were implemented. Upon his return to Canada, border agents told him that he was required to comply.
Mr. Chadli had no objection to the measures, but he could not afford the cost. He was having financial difficulties at the time related to personal health problems. His financial issues were exacerbated by the closure of businesses during the lockdowns that were happening throughout 2020-2021. The border agents advised him to put the expense on his credit card or borrow money. Mr. Chadli did not have a credit card, nor did he have family or acquaintances who could lend him that much money in such a short period of time. Mr. Chadli proceeded to quarantine at home.
In May of 2021, Mr. Chadli was issued an Offence Notice with a total fine of $3,755. Mr. Chadli immediately completed the back of the ticket, requesting an Early Resolution meeting. In December 2022, Mr. Chadli received a notice in the mail with an Early Resolution date of January 18, 2023. He and his lawyer appeared on January 18, but the matter was adjourned because no Justice of the Peace was available. An Early Resolution meeting was finally held on March 31, 2023. On April 13, 2023, Mr. Chadli’s lawyer wrote to the Crown again expressing strong concerns regarding the delay to date and the likelihood of further delay in the future. The Prosecutor responded the same day indicating that the charge would be withdrawn.
Mr. Chadli’s lawyer, Chris Fleury states: “This case is reflective of a serious backlog in the justice system, particularly in busy jurisdictions like Mississauga. Court and Prosecutorial resources are limited. If Crown Counsel are not willing to prioritize serious criminal cases, and withdraw or resolve cases like Mr. Chadli’s, the problem will only get worse.” He added that “Mr. Chadli’s ticket, and the uncertainty that it created, weighed on him for almost two years. My client is quite pleased with the outcome and eager to move on with his life.”