Yes, you read the headline correctly. The Canadian government has implemented a radical new strategy in an effort to address the ongoing spread of the Covid-19 virus, While this strategy has good intentions, it is highly flawed from the get-go – most notably, it is likely impeding on the rights and freedoms of Canadain citizens.
Background. Over the 2020 holiday season, there were numerous media reports of high-ranking elected officials jetting off, against the suggested policy, and vacationing in far off, tropical destinations that are common for Canadians, in particular, the Caribbean and Mexico. In response to public outcry it seems that Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has charged ahead on his own and imposed an extremely tough quarantine policy on ALL returning Canadians. The policy is meant to accomplish 2 things:
- deter Canadians from travel outside of the country
- punish Canadians who travel
The public outcry has been swift and vocal, and for obvious reasons. While seeming to be in good faith as an effort to curb the spread of COVID, the restriction does not take into account the fact that many Canadians must travel for bonafide reasons like attending family crisis events, business issues, and other required travel trips. Additionally, there has been much proof that air travel has only been responsible for a very small amount of Covid visus in Canada. Finally, the mandatory hotel stay is not imposed at land border crossings and the rules are not applied to the largest group of persons entering the country, commercial truckers. Essentially, the country has built a dam, however, there are numerous leaks!
The new rules and how they work.
The new, 3 day mandatory hotel quarantine, also, amusingly called “Stopover” by the official government sources, came into effect on Monday, Feb 22, 2021.
Travelers must still provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test taken up to 72 hours before their scheduled departure time.
As of February 21, 2021, at 11:59 pm ET, travelers, unless exempted, will also be required to:
- reserve a government-authorized hotel for 3 nights prior to departure to Canada
- take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival in Canada
- stay in the government-authorized hotel while awaiting the results of the COVID-19 molecular test taken on arrival
- pay for the cost of the hotel stay, as well as all associated costs for:
- infection prevention and control measures
My flight was on 22-feb-21 to canada as international student.i tried continuously for last two days to book for stopover quarantine hotel but could reach to the number. At last, i along with my wife have been forced to cancel our tickets which cost us a lot.
— Tarek Mahmud Sonon (@SononTarek) February 22, 2021
Travelers must present proof of having reserved and pre-paid for their accommodation through ArriveCAN.
Travelers will still be required to complete the remainder of the mandatory 14-day quarantine after their mandatory hotel stopover.
Where this policy fails
From day 1, there have been many issues with the new policy, most notable, travelers are responsible for making their own hotel reservation at one of only very limited hotels. Numerous reports cite that it has been taking several attempts and up to 3 hours to connect with an operator to create a booking
- The price of the hotel is inconsistent, not advertised, and prices are not justified. The average cost for a 3-day mandatory stay is roughly $2,000 per person.
- Booking cannot be made at the hotel or by calling the hotel directly
- Rather than spending 3 days in isolation at home, along, travelers are being sent to unfamiliar locations and are actually being subjected to more human to human contact than doing their own self-isolation
- The cost of hotel stay must be made in advance and is non-refundable, even when the stay is shortened
- Breakdown and/or explanation of costs is not provided
- Guest are forced to pay for a 3-day stay even though it may only take one day for covid test results to come back.
- There has been much secrecy and lack of transparency during the entire implementation by the Government
At-home testing – Travellers will also be required to take another COVID-19 molecular test later during their 14-day quarantine. Travelers will be provided with a COVID-19 test kit and instructions before leaving the airport. This is flawed as most persons are not skilled at conducting a self-test and there are many ways in which the results could be flawed (not swabbing deep enough or long enough)
Perhaps the most insane part of this new rule is that the forced stay is not being imposed on Canadians that return home via land border crossing. As such, many travelers are expected to start re-routing their travel to nearby US destinations where they then can cross into Canada by land crossing.
A prediction here is that this insane, new rule by the Canadian government will continue to be met with much pushback and it will ultimately fail. Many experts also believe that the entire process is unconstitutional.