Starting Friday 04JUN, air arrivals in Canada who refuse to take government-mandated COVID-19 tests – or refuse hotel quarantines – will be subject to a $5000 fine.
That’s an increase of $2000 over the current potential penalty.
The hefty increase comes just one week after the government’s own advisors said the hotel quarantine system is flawed and recommended cancelling the program altogether.
An advisory panel convened by the Minister of Health last Thursday published a report recommending “that the requirement for all air travellers to quarantine in government-authorized accommodations be discontinued,” because it:
- “is not applied equally to land and air travellers;
- is expensive to administer;
- provides opportunities for travellers to bypass by paying a fine;
- is inconsistent with the incubation period of the virus.”
As Open Jaw reported, the government rejected its own panel’s advice late last week, and today comes news that – instead of scrapping the hotel quarantine – it’s just making it more expensive for travellers to bypass.
The government appears to be digging its heels into its pro-hotel quarantine position just three weeks before the requirement is due to expire on 21JUN. That may indicate restrictions will be extended regardless of falling COVID cases, rising vaccination rates, and its panel’s recommendations, which the Health Minister so far has refused to say will be adopted.
Instead, Patty Hajdu told a news conference, “This report provides us with a roadmap, if you will, of the next steps we can consider as we begin to see an increased protection of Canadians through vaccination and the reduction of COVID-19.”
CBC reports the latest numbers released by the government indicate that between 14APR and 24MAY, over 1,000 air pax were fined for not going to a quarantine hotel, and less than half that number were fined for refusing required COVID-19 testing either before their flights to Canada, or upon arrival.