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Some Canadian Travelers Are Ignoring The Hotel Quarantine

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Canada’s pronounced quarantine rules, requiring international travelers by air to partake in a mandatory three-day stay at a government-approved hotel facility, are apparently not being endorsed by all travelers.

Police at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport (YYZ) are reporting that some travelers are blatantly refusing the hotel-stay.  In response to the violation, uncompliant travelers are being handed a fine of $880, a sum undoubtedly less than the cost of a three-day hotel stay. 

Upon reception of the fine, the travelers are free to leave the airport and go wherever they please.

travelers mask airport

The police have explicitly stated that they will not detain any traveler for breaking the hotel quarantine rule, except in circumstances in which the traveler commits a criminal offence. 

Accordingly, Peel Regional Police spokesperson, Akhil Mooken stated:

“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.”

Pearson Airport Toronto police

While the price tag of a $880 fine may carry appeal in contrast to the expenses and burdens of a mandatory hotel-stay, police have advised that offending travelers may still be subject to additional fines from the Public Health Agency of Canada. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has addressed its awareness of the situation, stating:

“Travellers are legally obligated to follow the instructions of a Screening Officer or Quarantine Officer through the 14-day period, whether in regards to testing, transit to locations, their mandatory hotel stopover or during quarantine at home or other suitable location. If they do not follow the instructions, there are penalties including a maximum fine of up to $750,000 or imprisonment for six months.”

traveling during pandemic

The PHAC further noted that they are looking into the incidents at YYZ, however no additional fines for offending travelers have been reported as yet. 

Though instances of hotel quarantine rule violations have been reported in Toronto, corresponding incidents have not been acknowledged or addressed by Canada’s other major airports. 

travelers masks

Some Travelers without Hotel Booking Refused from Boarding 

While some travelers decided to receive a fine over a mandatory hotel-stay, some other travelers did not have any choice, as they were denied boarding their flights to Canada without prepaid hotel bookings. 

Transport Canada has indicated that airlines are not necessarily required to deny boarding to travelers which cannot present confirmed bookings, stating:

“Air carriers are not required to verify that a traveller has a hotel reservations before boarding a flight to Canada, nor are they required to deny that traveller boarding in the event that person has been unable to book.”

air canada check in counter

Though this may be the case, it appears that communication from the government to all airlines is not completely clear and misinterpretation has occurred in some situations.

The PHAC has further disclosed that travelers returning without prepaid bookings will be referred to a government official for follow-up, and airlines must notify passengers that they may be liable to a fine without a reservation. 

Toronto Pearson Airport in Canada. Pearson is the largest and busiest airport in Canada.

Other Ways to Bypass Hotel Quarantine

A fine for violating hotel quarantine rules may not be the only option for unwavering travelers to bypass a mandatory hotel-stay.

Many travelers, especially those returning from the U.S, are choosing to book their return flights to a U.S. city close to the Canadian border, and return to Canada by land. 

As the mandatory hotel-quarantine is only subjected to travelers returning to Canada by air, those returning by land borders may effectively skip the requirement without a fine.

bridge to canada

While travelers returning by land will still be required to comply with testing and quarantine orders, some argue that it is discriminatory to only require travelers returning by air to the mandatory hotel-stay. 

The government has addressed this issue by highlighting that mandating a hotel quarantine at land borders would be incredibly difficult logistically, as access to nearby quarantine hotels is far more feasible at major airports.

To this effect, Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair stated:

“At land borders, we have 117 different points of entry, and many of those points of entry are located in remote, rural areas.”

Read More:

List of Canada’s Quarantine Hotels and Pricing Guide

US Extends Land Border Travel Restrictions

WestJet Suspends Routes to Four Canadian Cities

Travel Insurance That Covers COVID-19

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


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Mati Lehesalu

Friday 23rd of April 2021

Without prejudice , I fine it extremely discriminatory that only returning Canadian citizens by air require to stay in a GAA hotel & not those that return by land . My wife & me received our Covid 19 vaccines in the USA ( because we could not & wasn’t available in March in Collingwood Ontario ). We were able to be with our daughter’s family in Hawaii & the only requirement was a negative covid 19 test result within 72 hours , then no quarantine was required ( the same should be for Canada & then self quarantine at home while awaiting arrival test results .

Lubi

Sunday 28th of March 2021

How can you book GAA hotel,they have this one number to call it's impossible.They let you wait and wait and no result.I spend so much money on this phone calls and nothing.Is there an other way how to book that 3 day hotel stay? Let say on line. And I'm a Canadian traveling from europe.

Luis

Friday 26th of March 2021

Hotels are also taking advantage of the situation. Our Airline changed our flight making our date of araival a week later than anticipated. Even though we have all our documentation in order. The hotel refuces to change our dates unless we pay again for the Hotel stay, they charge us 1500.00 for the 3 day stay an now they want us to pay another 1500.00 for the other 3 days.

This is unbelibable what they are doing.

Tosh

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

Good for them!!! It violates section 6 of Charter and section 14.1 of the Quarantine Act itself. These fines will not hold up in court, as will NONE of these draconian bylaws. Take the fine, take a court date (if they even schedule one) and fight it. You'll win, hands down. More people should do this, especially now that a few women have come forward saying they were sexually assaulted within these federally run hotels. Ya, that's not good...AT ALL. Good for them for not going!Don't take that PCR test upon arrival too, you can deny that as well. ;)

garrytravel

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

It's a distraction because they can't even buy and distribute vaccines without completely failing at every juncture. Israel already at 80% above 16 yrs old vaccinated.