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

Bike lane closed, traffic impacted by landscaping in Metchosin

Construction begins May 25, to be complete by mid-July

MISSING: Victoria police on the lookout for woman last seen April 28

Leah Parker, 41, is described five-foot-five and about 140 pounds with brown/blonde hair, blue eyes

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Homeless shelter at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre creates 40 jobs

The arena can house 45 people in pop-up pods

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of Nanaimo’s Lisa Marie Young

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Most Read