Some points on the federal Quarantine ActMarch 27, 2020
As of March 25, 2020, anyone entering Canada is required by law to self-isolate & monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days. This order is made under the federal Quarantine Act.
You can read the Act, plus debate and other related materials from the most recent substantial update of the Act in 2004-05, here: https://primarydocuments.ca/collection-quarantine-act-sc-2005/.
The self-isolation order can be read here, in full: https://orders-in-council.canada.ca/attachment.php?attach=38989&lang=en.
Under this order, “any person entering Canada must:
(a) isolate themselves without delay in accordance with instructions provided by a screening officer or a quarantine officer and remain in isolation until the expiry of the 14-day period that begins on the day on which the person enters Canada; and
(b) monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 until the expiry of the 14-day period and, if they develop any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, follow instructions provided by the public health authority specified by a screening officer or quarantine officer.”
This mandatory order means no stopping for groceries, no visiting family or friends, nothing of the sort except for travelling immediately & directly home.
Under s.58 of the Quarantine Act, the Cabinet has broad power to make orders, applying to all people entering Canada, regardless of citizenship or point of origin, to protect against communicable disease. These orders can have immediate effect.
Compliance with this and related orders is subject to monitoring, verification & enforcement.
Violation may result in detention at a quarantine facility, fines, and/or imprisonment.
Refusing any direction pursuant to the Act can also result in detention.
Screening & quarantine officers have broad & persistent powers both at entry & exit points & within Canada. Those powers include ordering assessments, tests, entry into buildings, inspection, production of information & records, detention, and warrantless arrest, under certain circumstances.
The federal Quarantine Act is always active & isn’t subject to any exceptional Parliamentary oversight.
This is quite unlike the federal Emergencies Act, which grants exceptional powers to the federal government, and requires cabinet activation and near-immediate approval or veto from Parliament, continuing oversight by Parliament, and sunset clauses for its powers (NOTE: the federal Emergencies Act has NOT been activated at this time).
Neither new, special, nor emergency orders are required to be promulgated for many of these broad Quarantine Act powers to be exercised or imposed on individuals, items, or methods of transport (conveyances) in, entering, or leaving Canada.
This order, under s.58, was required in order to apply the 14-day isolation & monitoring conditions to all people entering Canada, as a class.
For a list of emergency orders that have been promulgated in Canada as a result of COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidpodcast.com/blog/2020/3/19/repository-of-canadian-covid-19-emergency-orders, from uOttawa professor Craig Forcese, Carleton University professor Stephanie Carvin, and the team at @IntrepidPodcast. They are doing great work, as best they can, at updating this list.
Of note, six other s.58 orders have been made under the Quarantine Act since February 3, 2020.
Law firm @McCarthy Tétrault LLP is doing the same, tracking Canadian emergency orders, here: https://www.mccarthy.ca/en/insights/articles/covid-19-emergency-measures-tracker. There may be others.
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