Skip to Content

New Hotel Quarantine Data Reveals Only 1% of Travelers Tested Positive

Share The Article

The results of Canada’s hotel quarantine mandate reveal that only 1% of international travelers returning to Canada tested positive for COVID-19. 

Data released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) shows insight on the spread of COVID-19 following the obligatory hotel quarantine that took effect on February 22.

From the start date to March 4, 21,939 travelers were tested upon arrival into Canada, out of which 267 tested positive, reflecting a 1.2% active case ratio. 

travelers face masks arriving at airport

PHAC further discloses the exposure history of COVID-19 cases in Canada.

The data confirms that 1% of reported COVID-19 cases resulted from travel outside of Canada, 98.4% from domestic acquisition, and the remaining 0.6% from unknown sources.   

The ratio is even lower in Ontario – with only 0.6% of cases linking back to international travel – while the province operates Pearson International, notably the country’s busiest airport.

On January 29, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced arguably the toughest entry restrictions in the world, stemming from the risk of highly transmissive variants emerging overseas.

The updated measures saw the shutdown of inbound international flights to all but four major airports, new testing requirements, the suspension of various routes, and a compulsory 3-day hotel quarantine. 

passenger mask

As of March 6, 11,440 hotel rooms were reserved through the Global Business Travel number. Health Canada’s website said travelers are not authorized to quarantine at home in order to minimize the potential exposure of COVID-19 to others.

Subsequently, the unprecedented regulations alarmed Canadians due to ramifications – including but not limited to – the $2000 added expense of hotel-quarantine upon return to Canada. In light of the fact that only 1% of virus transmission is linked to international travel, the stringent measures have raised questions from Canadians.

traveler airport mask

Gov’t Officials Can’t Provide Data Leading to Hotel Quarantine Order

During the committee meeting at the House of Commons on February 19, Public Health Agency officials were unable to provide reasoning or logic behind the hotel quarantine mandate in curbing the spread of COVID-19. 

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner asked Public Health officials how they arrived at the new mandate and how the process is more effective than onsite rapid-testing, as seen piloted in certain provinces. 

“What data was used to determine that hotel quarantines are a better option for stopping the spread of variants than the Calgary border pilot program, which employs rapid, on-arrival testing,” asked Rempel Garner.

“Anyone?” she continued, as no response was provided by the six PHAC officials in attendance, “Is there anyone at PHAC that provided that advice?”

Backlash from Constitutional Experts 

The federal government has received public backlash and threats of litigation from legal-advocacy groups. The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) launched a legal challenge of the federal government quarantine requirement on Monday. 

“The quarantine hotel policy is an unjustified limit on the rights of Canadians’ Charter protected right to enter Canada. The $2,000 cost per traveler is exploitive and punitive,” said CCF Litigation Director, Christine Van Geyn.  

hotel quarantine

The group is accompanied in legal action by five nationals who have been directly impacted by the mandate while traveling to see ill family members.

The CCF says the federal requirement is a violation of sections 6, 7, 9, and 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and has asked the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to stop the quarantine policy immediately. 

The government has not yet responded to the court action.

Meanwhile, PM Trudeau has previously said that the measures are intended to increase safety, not punish people.

masked man with suitcase at airport

Failure to comply with the Quarantine Act could result in fines of up to $3,000 per day. Additionally, violation of the order is an offense and could lead to a maximum of six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. 

To view Canada’s up-to-date entry requirements, please click here.

For a list of government-approved hotels + pricing guide, please click here


↓ Elevate Your Travel↓

Sign Up Now For Travel Off Path Premium! No ads, VIP Content, Personal Travel Concierge, Huge Savings, Daily Deals, Members Forum & More!

✈️Join Our Travel Off Path Community Forum: Where travelers unite, ask questions, share experiences and even find like-minded travel buddies!


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Jan Floody

Saturday 20th of March 2021

Huge shout out to Doubletree hotel in Calgary, the ONLY hotel I am aware of that refunded two days hotel charges when Covid test results arrived in 24 hours. Shame on the other hotels


Friday 12th of March 2021

That 1% would be stopped by the 14 day quarantine. Trudumb is ruining Canada at a breathless pace. We can only assume it will get even worse.

Leon Irla

Thursday 11th of March 2021

Trudeaus decision was not based on safety but to cover his incompetence in managing the pandemic.


Thursday 11th of March 2021

You do not have to be a genius to understand that this targets the lowest common denominator of people. It is so sad to see how Canada is no longer a free country, so easy to get your rights violated and nobody speak up about it. People in other "civilized" countries are looking at Canada as a joke because of this. The US is truly a better country, they have proven it despite the high number of cases before, at least they do not see a need to strip citizens of their rights. Even when Trudeau said "we are not doing this to punish people", watch the video..he is laughing! He even knows this...

Nycole Gaudreault

Thursday 11th of March 2021

@AL, how sad it is and how true your comment is pertinent... It makes me sick and mad to see all these actions taken by Trudeau... let me tell you that he will never get my vote again - of course it does not weight much but... it makes me feel better

Daniele Heinen

Thursday 11th of March 2021

@AL, Please a comparaison with the US considering what happened/happens there is really the worse possible case scenario. Let us stick to the decisions taken here on their own merits or the lack thereof, without any scientific basis but plenty of political pandering to the so called popular outrage and that of both Quebec and Ontario PMs at pix of Canadians vacationing on beaches in ' the South'! Also essential travel has not been defined. But how to qualify the travel of a family going abroad to attend the funeral of the father of one of the parent? Or I who would like to go to France to attend to my 98 year old mother living alone (with the help of various daily helpers) but is finally losing it. Sorting out her papers, cleaning, cooking, helping for toilet is definitely sounding like vacations ! ? I was shocked to find out recently that returning Canadian oil workers from the US doing a 2 weeks on/2 weeks off rotation had no obligation. As to the various abuses, bad service, disgusting meals, price changes between booking and showing up at the hotel that have been mentioned in the Press.....

Nycole Gaudreault

Thursday 11th of March 2021

This hotel quarantine is the most STUPID decision the government and Mr. Trudeau have taken and now, the figures are talking.

Instead of recognizing that this was a very wrong decision, they persist in keeping in force this punitive action

I hope sincerely that people will wake up at one point and another and resist to these stupidities