The Quarantine Act, 2005 is an act of the Parliament of Canada, which regulates the use of quarantine to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases. Introduced in the aftermath of the 2002–04 SARS outbreak, the act grants the ability to designate quarantine facilities, require health screenings upon arrival or exit of the country, and issue emergency orders that impose conditions or prohibitions on the entry of individuals or imports in order to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. It also imposes fines on those who disobey quarantine officers or quarantine orders. The act was invoked in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Quarantine Act, 2005|
|Parliament of Canada|
|Citation||SC 2005, c. 20.|
|Enacted by||Parliament of Canada|
|Assented to||May 13, 2005|
|Status: In force|
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, the act was invoked for two purposes. It was used in order to mandate a quarantine of Canadian travellers who had been repatriated from the pandemic's origin, Wuhan, China. It was also used on March 25, when Minister of Health Patty Hajdu invoked the act effective at midnight that night, to legally require all international travellers (excluding essential workers) returning to Canada to self-isolate for 14 days, prohibiting those who are symptomatic from using public transit to reach a place of self-isolation, and prohibiting self-isolation in settings where they may come in contact with people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly.
By May 20, police officers had made 2,198 "home visits to make sure Canadians [were] complying with the self-isolation rule when they cross[ed] back into the country". One returning traveller at Pearson International Airport was depicted with a full PPE isolation suit. Justin Trudeau "hint[ed] at new measures to track travellers who cross into Canada once border restrictions start to ease." The CBSA alerts the PHAC "if it suspects a returning traveller won't comply." The PHAC then notifies the national operations centre of the RCMP, who then coordinates with local police forces. Thus far, only one person in Richmond, British Columbia, was fined $1,000. The Trudeau government "expanded the Order-in-Council by saying that anyone returning home from abroad without a credible self-isolation plan would be forced to stay at a designated quarantine facility, such as a hotel." Trudeau is puzzled by "those questions on non-essential travel". CPHO Tam "called the mandatory 14-day quarantine for arrivals a 'cornerstone' of federal pandemic policy." Trudeau said, "Once we get to a point where non-essential travel picks up again in the coming months, I guess, we need to have strong measures in place and we're looking at those closely."
- Quarantine Act, SC 2005, c. 20.
- "The coronavirus can't be contained. Are you ready?". Maclean's. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Dunham, Jackie (March 25, 2020). "Travellers returning home must enter mandatory self-isolation: health minister". CTV News. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
- "RCMP to enforce Quarantine Act, while Trudeau says no plan to invoke Emergencies Act". National Post. April 10, 2020.
- "Police report 2,200 home quarantine checks as Trudeau talks about stricter border measures". CBC. May 20, 2020.