RCMP officer in uniform hat. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Canadian police to make home visits to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers

Police forces have been asked to help verify Canadians are complying with the Quarantine Act

Police across the country will soon be enforcing the government’s mandatory quarantine laws, including visiting the homes of newly arrived travellers to ensure they’re following the rules.

RCMP said in a news release Friday that the police force had been asked by the Public Health Agency of Canada to help enforce the Quarantine Act Order, which was declared by the federal Health Minister Patty Hadju on March 25.

Under the order, anyone arriving into Canada – including snowbirds and those being repatriated by the government – must stay in self-isolation for 14 days upon arrival.

“Choosing to ignore mandatory isolation and quarantine orders is not only against the law, it’s also putting citizens, first responders, health professionals and the most vulnerable at risk of exposure to the virus,” said RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki.

THERE CAN BE NO AMBIGUITY’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

House checks will be be implemented only in cases where federal health officials have done initial verification of compliance by phone, text or e-mail and determine further verification by police is necessary.

Those who violate the order face fines up to $750,000 and six months in prison, while “willfully or recklessly contravening this Act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or to both,” the RCMP warned.

Police said that arrests would be a last resort “based on the circumstances and the officer’s risk assessment.” Instead, the officer can issue those charged with a notice or summons requiring them to appear in court.

Many people – including provincial leaders – have been critical of the federal government’s rollout of screening measures at airports, after arriving travellers reported little to no screening while others reported that they knew people who weren’t following the mandated self-isolation protocols.

Earlier this week, B.C. Premier John Horgan unveiled new measures for those arriving in the province from international flights, including a mandatory self-isolation form which travellers would have to produce in order to be allowed through security.

If the plan isn’t acceptable to officials, travellers will be sent to a designated quarantine facility for 14 days under the powers of the federal Quarantine Act, he said.

READ MORE: Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

During his Friday briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted that current orders and provisions to reduce the spread of the virus could be relaxed in the summer so long as people remain vigilant and physically distance now.

“If we do things right, this will be the first and worst phase that we go through as a country in terms of COVID-19,” Trudeau said.

“It is possible we may be out of that wave this summer, and at that point we will be able to talk about loosening up some the rules that are in place.”

Trudeau has said that Canadians should expect the ongoing orders to become the norm for the next 12 to 18 months, or until a vaccine is developed.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRD to consider plan for mountain biking trails at Mount Work

SIMBS seek new trails in Hartland, Partridge Hills

Oak Bay clinic opens virtual classes to public for fundraiser

Patient activity is up for cancer-supporting clinic during COVID-19 crisis

More than 1,500 people expected at Victoria peace rally for Black lives

‘To speak up, all you need is a voice and the will to be heard’

Saanich property tax notices in the mail, residents unable to pay in person

Payment options, late penalties adjusted due to COVID-19

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Most Read