Some travellers walking out of Pearson airport (or taking a fine) instead of paying for quarantine hotel – National Post

Peel Regional Police are not arresting people who refuse to follow the measures at Toronto Pearson Airport, a spokesperson confirmed

Article content

Some travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson Airport are walking out instead of footing the bill of mandatory quarantine hotel stays, just days after the federal government issued new protocols to curb the spread of variants in the country.

Akhil Mooken, a spokesperson for Peel Regional Police, confirmed that officers are not arresting people who refuse to follow the measures that came into effect Monday.

“Unless there are some serious or aggravating circumstances where the public safety is at risk, we are not… detaining individuals who are not complying with the regulations under the Quarantine Act,” Mooken said.

Peel police officers are working with the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor incoming arrivals at the airport in Mississauga, Ont.

While a person may be able to dodge mandatory quarantine in a hotel — which can cost up to $2,000 for the required three-day stay — that doesn’t mean PHAC won’t follow up and retroactively fine him or her. The fine, Mooken said, could be up to $1,800 per person, per day.

Advertisement

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

A spokesperson for PHAC confirmed that, under the act, a person who disobeys the mandatory quarantine could face a maximum penalty of $750,000 and/or six months imprisonment.

The Quarantine Act mandates that anyone arriving in Canada must test negative for COVID-19 before their arrival, take a test upon arrival, and isolate in a government-authorized hotel for three days while awaiting the results.

There is no use for this

The person must cover the costs of their quarantine stay, which may also include the bill for food, security and transportation, states the government website.

After the three days, the traveller has to complete the rest of their 14-day quarantine at home.

Enforcement of the Quarantine Act is handled both by Peel police and PHAC, with the police holding the power to charge travellers at the airport. However, due to scarce resources, the police are letting PHAC follow up with non-compliant travellers.

A source familiar with the situation at the airport said police “do not have the manpower” to “stop all these people, issue them fines, do the followups, make sure they’re complying.”

The source said enforcement of the Quarantine Act is “all being done by the public health agency.”

Some travellers who have paid for their hotel stays are displeased with the price and the hard rules.

Kirti Hooda, who arrived from India Monday, said she couldn’t quite see the point.

  1. A traveller arrives at the mandatory quarantine Alt Hotel near Toronto’s Pearson Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic, Monday February 22, 2021.

    International air passengers grumble as they’re forced into quarantine hotels on new rule’s first day

  2. The Marriott Hotel at Calgary International Airport, one of the hotels that will be used to quarantine air travellers coming into Canada.

    ‘Keep the price quiet’: All you need to know about government-authorized hotels for mandatory three-day COVID stays

Advertisement

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

She and her travel companion are the only residents of their house in nearby Brampton and will also be sharing a room at the Sheraton Four Points.

“At home, we are two people and in the room here we are two people,” said Hooda. “So there is no use for this.”

Michelle Fernandes, who was traveling on her own from India as well, said the stay cost her $1,100 including meals delivered to her room. That’s just over half the $2,000 that government officials cited when the policy was announced.

Even so, for some “affordability is a question,” she argued. “For a family, you could pay three or four thousand. For three days you’re paying $4,000 for your family to quarantine. It’s not worth it.”

With files from Tom Blackwell

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.