Although Canada’s borders have been shut to non-essential foreign nationals since March, citizens and permanent residents who travel abroad cannot be banned from returning. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Feds have spent more than $37M on quarantining returning travellers since pandemic began

Although foreign nationals are largely banned from entering, Canadians have the right to return

The federal government has spent more than $37 million on quarantining travellers returning from abroad, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

According the PHAC, as of July 29 there have been 2,306 returning travellers who have needed to quarantine at one of 11 federal sites across the country. The agency said using the sites is the “last resort” and travellers are expected to make their own quarantine arrangements in advance.

“Travellers who are unable to quarantine in their own place of residence should consider alternatives within their financial means such as booking a hotel/motel room or other paid housing alternative, or staying with friends or family,” PHAC said in a statement. “In cases where it is deemed necessary by a PHAC officer… travellers may be sent to a federally designated quarantine facility.”

Although Canada’s borders have been shut to non-essential foreign nationals since March, citizens and permanent residents who travel abroad cannot be banned from returning. According to the Canada Border Services Agency, 551,201 Canadian citizens and permanent residents returned to the country between March 21 and Aug. 16.

As of March 25, quarantining for 14 days has been mandatory for all returning travellers. Those who break quarantine rules can be fined up to $750,000 or imprisoned for six months. Anyone who causes a “risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person” while violating quarantine rules can be fined up to $1 million or imprisoned for up to three years.

The $37.1 million that the feds have spent on quarantine travellers from April 1 to July 29 have been split between 11 sites in Whitehorse, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton, Halifax and St. John’s.

Quarantined travellers received three meals a day and other “essential items.” As of Aug. 15, there are currently 245 travellers in federal sites: 20 in Vancouver, 15 in Calgary, eight in Winnipeg, 154 in Toronto, 44 in Montreal, two in Halifax and two in Fredericton.

As of Thursday (Aug. 20) afternoon, there are more than 123,490 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 9,049 deaths. Non-essential travellers from the U.S. remain banned until Sept. 21, while the order banning non-U.S. foreign nationals is currently set to expire Aug. 31.

READ MORE: Kentucky man faces $750K fine for breaking Canadian quarantine rules in Alberta Rockies

READ MORE: Feds to allow immediate family to reunite in Canada, but quarantine still stands

READ MORE: Canada now mandating all returning travellers to quarantine

READ MORE: Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

LETTER: Keeping Canada-U.S. borders closed is issue of safety, not bigotry

Only walls Trump deserves come in a set of four, and are found in a prison or institution: Reader

LETTER: CERB is simply worsening overdose issues in Maple Ridge

Taxpayer money is going to help buy more drugs and increase cases of death on local streets: Reader

Ridge Meadows Soccer welcomes former Whitecaps coach to club

Craig Dalrymple will join organization as new sporting director

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read