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

Vernon man brews up award-winning flavours in Golden

Kenton (Kent) Donaldson is co-founder of Whitetooth Brewing Company Ltd. in Golden

Kelowna filmmaker launches fundraiser for ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ fan movie

Donations will go towards the production of ‘The Sawyer Massacre’

Kicking Horse Canyon Project Phase 4 moves forward

Kicking Horse Canyon Constructors chosen as preferred proponent, with contract negotiations underway

Morning Start: Night Owls Tend to Be Smarter Than Early Birds

Your morning start for Monday, Sept. 21, 2020

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

16 COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health region

One person is in hospital and 34 people are isolating

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Truck, Shuswap police vehicle collide during arrest of wanted man

Emergency response team and helicopter called out to assist in Chase area arrest

Stolen vehicle recovered from site of Vernon manhunt for wanted man

Police return to Brooks Lane in response to reports of suspicious vehicle

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Shuswap search and rescue crew respond to dirt biker injured on Mount Ida

North Vancouver man transported to hospital for treatment of injuries

Popular South Okanagan cafe shuts its doors

Saint Germaine Cafe and Gallery served its last latte Sept. 19

Kelowna woman to run from Vernon to Penticton for mental health awareness

Melissa Gosse’s 100-kilometre ultramarathon will raise funds for Canadian Mental Health Association

Most Read