Mandatory hotel quarantines could harm lower-income Canadians: Lawyer

news-update

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is questioning Ottawa's move to require hotel quarantines for international travellers, saying it may harm lower-income Canadians and infringe on citizens' mobility rights.
    
Cara Zwibel, a lawyer who heads the organization's fundamental freedoms program, is calling on the federal government to produce any evidence that returning passengers are breaching the current requirement to self-isolate at home, which she suggests is the only fair basis to toughen the rules.
    
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more than two weeks ago that travellers flying back from abroad will have to quarantine at a federally mandated hotel for up to three days at their own expense, though he acknowledged that only a fraction of COVID-19 cases appear to stem from overseas trips.
    
Zwibel suggests that the cost, $2,000 or more, according to the government, could be prohibitive for lower-income Canadians who need to care for sick relatives or receive specialized medical care abroad.
    
Health conditions that would make isolating in a hotel particularly challenging are another concern.
    
In a letter to Canada's transport minister and attorney general, the civil liberties association is demanding Ottawa carve out quarantine exemptions and fee waivers for Canadians who seek to look after loved ones or receive treatment overseas, particularly people in narrow financial straits.