Charges against Mr. Dan P. were stayed on March 3, 2023. Mr. P. was charged under the Quarantine Act for failing to disclose his vaccination status on the ArriveCAN App and was issued a fine totalling $9,405.
Mr. P is a hardworking Canadian trucker who was informed of new restrictions and requirements that were going to be implemented in January 2022 while he was in the United States. He was mainly concerned with the requirement to disclose his vaccination status via the ArriveCAN app. Upon hearing about the new requirements, Mr. P. arranged for a second driver to accompany him, so that he could travel a longer distance to return home before the new restrictions took place. However, the second driver had to cancel hours before departure due to a medical emergency in the family. Mr. P. could only drive a set number of hours a day, due to rest requirements, and this prevented him from reaching the Canadian border before the requirements were in place.
Mr. P., along with many other Canadians, were led to believe that the deadline would not apply to commercial drivers, based on an official Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) announcement on January 12, 2022. This announcement was made during his trip and informed his travel plans.
Upon his arrival at the border, CBSA demanded that Mr. P. provide his vaccination status to them via ArriveCAN. Mr. P. refused to provide this sensitive piece of medical information on privacy grounds, and believed he had a valid exemption from this requirement. He was fined for his refusal to provide this information via ArriveCAN. The charges against him were stayed on March 3rd, 2023.
In addition to providing legal representation to Mr. P and others like him, lawyers are currently advancing a constitutional challenge in Federal Court on behalf of several Canadians who were fined for refusing to disclose their vaccination status via ArriveCAN. Some claimants were willing to disclose their vaccination status through paper certificates, while others did not want to disclose personal medical information to government agents. The lawsuit alleges that the federal government breached the privacy rights of the claimants, and that the demand for such information was unconstitutional.
“Canadians should not be forced to disclose private medical information to people not practicing medicine,” says Sayeh Hassan, a lawyer supervising the legal defence of dozens of Canadians who refused to disclose their medical information due to privacy concerns. “The right to reasonable privacy, including the right to medical privacy, is protected by the Charter, and hardworking Canadians should not be punished for choosing to exercise their rights. The stay of charges against Mr. P. is a step in the right direction,” concludes Ms. Hassan.