Problems With Hotel Quarantines Grow Faster Than Solutions As Conservatives Call For Cancellation

The Fairmont Vancouver Airport is one of the hotels authorized for mandatory quarantines for international passengers.
The Fairmont Vancouver Airport is one of the hotels authorized for mandatory quarantines for international passengers.

New problems with Canada’s mandatory quarantine hotels have cropped up even as others have been solved – and the Opposition wants the program scrapped regardless.

The issue of overburdened toll-free phone numbers to book a stay at one of the hotels has been partially addressed as a limited number of hotels can now be booked online. Currently, none of those online options are for hotels in Toronto, however, only for a select number of properties in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.

In addition, Ottawa’s list of approved hotels has been expanded since the rule was first enforced.

While those developments have helped some travellers, others remain confused when they try to interpret mandatory hotel quarantine exemptions for children.

CTV News reported that a group of Toronto-area parents have been asking whether they need to book rooms for younger adults and older children in their families, but have been getting different answers from government officials.

The confusion comes from the order-in-council that explains the quarantine regulations which state they are not applicable to an “unaccompanied dependent child or an unaccompanied minor.”

Immigration lawyer Michael Battista told CTV News that “unaccompanied minor” is customarily someone under 18, while an “unaccompanied dependent child” for immigration purposes is someone who is under 22 and unmarried.

“To use both definitions simultaneously does create confusion,” said Battista.

Meanwhile, the opposition Conservatives are doubling down on their call that Ottawa put an end to the hotel quarantine system, a demand that became more urgent after an alleged sexual assault took place at a quarantine hotel on 17FEB.

“It’s fair to say that this is a violation of Canadians’ rights,” Conservative critic Michelle Rempel Garner told CityNews. “The federal government should be ashamed of themselves.”

The federal government says it is working to address the growing number of stories of travellers facing chaotic conditions when they arrive for their mandatory three-day hotel quarantine after flying into Canada.

“We’re aware of reports that some travellers have experienced issues with food and accommodation at government-authorized hotels during their mandatory three-night hotel stopover. The Public Health Agency of Canada is working directly with hotel partners to find solutions to these issues,” a spokesperson said.

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