A new order placed by the federal government makes self-isolation mandatory for anyone entering Canada, and with it comes fines along with possible jail time for failure to comply.
This week, Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act that requires any person entering Canada by air, sea, or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19.
The order is being implemented by the Canada Border Services Agency at points of entry, and was effected at midnight of March 26.
According to the Government of Canada, it will use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order.
“Failure to comply with this Order is an offence under the Quarantine Act,” reads a statement from the government.
“Maximum penalties include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months. Further, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or to imprisonment of up to three years, or to both.”
It adds that spot checks will be conducted by the Government of Canada to verify compliance.
“The number of cases of COVID-19 is increasing daily — both at home and globally. Earlier this month, we asked travellers entering Canada to self-isolate for 14 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. To protect the health and safety of returning Canadians and those who are around them, we are strengthening our measures at the border,” said Hajdu.
“Travellers returning to Canada will be subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation under the Quarantine Act.”
Everyone permitted to enter Canada are subject to this Order, “with the exception of certain persons who cross the border regularly to ensure the continued flow of goods and services, and those who provide essential services.”
But, the government added that those exempt will still need to practice physical distancing and self-monitoring and contact their local public health authority if they feel sick.
Additionally, those displaying symptoms of coronavirus after arriving in Canada “may not use public transportation to travel to their place of isolation. They also may not isolate in a place where they will be in contact with vulnerable people, such as seniors and individuals with underlying health conditions.”
Nationally, as of March 25, there were 35 deaths related to coronavirus, and 3,385 confirmed cases.