Coronavirus: Travelers who refuse hotel quarantine will soon face higher fines

TORONTO – Instead of acting on an advisory panel’s recommendation to end the mandatory quarantine hotel program for Canadian flyers, the federal government has increased the penalty for those who choose to skip it.

The government said tickets issued by police for violations of the Quarantine Act will carry a maximum fine of $ 5,000 through Friday. That’s a 67 percent increase from the $ 3,000 fine currently in place.

Some travelers choose to pay $ 3,000 rather than submit to the quarantine process, which involves taking a COVID-19 test at the airport and then staying in a hotel for up to 72 hours while waiting for the outcome, in a personal expenses up to $ 2,000.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says so 798 fines were released between Feb. 22 and May 7 for refusing to quarantine a hotel, 606 in Ontario and 192 in British Columbia. It has no fine records issued in Quebec or Alberta, the other two provinces where international flights are still allowed to fly.

A federal advisory panel recommended last week that the quarantine requirement at the hotel would cease, in part because of the number of travelers choosing to take a fine and skip the hotel.

The recommendation to end the mandatory hotel quarantine is with the support of the airline industry. The government’s response has been more resilient, with Health Minister Patty Hajdu saying she just wants consulting his provincial counterparts before making any decision regarding relaxing restrictions.

The government says more than 99 per cent of all travelers follow the regulations.

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