From: Snapshot-Content-Location: Subject: As coronavirus spreads globally, what are the laws governing Canadian ports of entry? | Canadian Lawyer Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2020 16:58:16 -0000 MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/related; type="text/html"; boundary="----MultipartBoundary--PXsjAjWfKK5sPCWiAaBUymNYKAn0CzAbq3jvJubAWg----" ------MultipartBoundary--PXsjAjWfKK5sPCWiAaBUymNYKAn0CzAbq3jvJubAWg---- Content-Type: text/html Content-ID: Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Location: =20 As coronavirus spreads globally, what are the laws gover= ning Canadian ports of entry? | Canadian Lawyer =20 =20 =20 =20 =20 =20 =20

As coronavirus spreads globally, what a= re the laws governing Canadian ports of entry?

An immigration specialist discusses the legal tools at the gove= rnment=E2=80=99s disposal

Sergio Karas is an immigration lawyer

While new cases of coronavirus emerge in Europe, the Mid= dle East, Asia and North America, immigration lawyer Sergio Karas told = Canadian Lawyer how Canada prevents diseases from spreading through po= rts of entry.

In comparison to Japan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Australia and Macau =E2= =80=93 some of which have placed temporary bans on travellers recently in C= hina =E2=80=93 Canada=E2=80=99s measures to prevent travellers from spreadi= ng coronavirus are currently mild, says Karas, who is certified by the Law = Society of Ontario as a specialist in Canadian citizenship and immigration = law and is former chair of the Ontario Bar Association Citizenship and Immi= gration Section.

In Australia, the government announced it is denying ent= ry to anyone who has travelled to mainland China, except for Australian cit= izens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens residing in Australia, dip= lomats and immediate family members of Australian citizens. Once arrived, c= itizens and other exceptions will be required to =E2=80=9Cself-isolate for = 14 days.=E2=80=9D


In Canada, =E2=80=9Cthere is voluntary reporting and there is no ironcla= d restriction on travel,=E2=80=9D says Karas. But he adds that Canadian law= does provide for a stricter approach.

Th system by which authorities are regulating spread of coronavirus thro= ugh Canadian ports of entry are based on the Immigration and Refugee Protec= tion Act, the Quarantine Act and the Aeronautics Act, he says.

Canada=E2=80=99s = Immigration a Refugee Protection Act can prevent a non-citizen from com= ing into the country if they are a danger to public health. Under s. 38 of = the Act, the government can make inadmissible anyone with a contagious dise= ase or a non-contagious illness which would impose costs on the healthcare = system, Karas says.

The Quarantine Act applies to everyone =E2=80=93 Canadian and foreign na= tional =E2=80=93 and puts a duty on all travellers and transportation compa= nies =E2=80=93 either coming or going =E2=80=93 to disclose if they have a = communicable disease or if they suspect someone else they=E2=80=99re travel= ling with does. Screening officers, who are authorized by the Minister of H= ealth, have the power to isolate anyone likely to have a communicable disea= se until they=E2=80=99re assessed by a quarantine officer and those who ref= use can be arrested without a warrant. The quarantine officer can prescribe= a medical examination and at this stage, if the traveller refuses treatmen= t or =E2=80=9Cany other measure=E2=80=9D to prevent the disease=E2=80=99s s= pread, the officer can arrest and detain the traveller, with the detention = reviewed every seven days, says Karas.

But the limited utility of the system of screening and quarantine office= rs and self-reporting is that it relies on the honour system, he says.


=E2=80=9CLet's suppose somebody comes in to the port of entry and they h= ave symptoms. Under the Quarantine Act, they=E2=80=99re legally mandated to= report those symptoms. Now, from the practical point of view. I don't thin= k anybody does that,=E2=80=9D he says.

=E2=80=9CWhat has happened recently with the coronavirus outbreak is tha= t, in the cases that we have seen, people have come through the airport and= then sought medical attention afterwards,=E2=80=9D he says.

But the Quarantine Act also allows the federal cabinet to make an order = banning travel or imposing conditions on travel to people who=E2=80=99ve be= en in a foreign country with a communicable disease outbreak.

=E2=80=9CIt is conceivable that this could be used to prevent the entry = of travellers who have been in China or any area affected by the coronaviru= s,=E2=80=9D says Sergio Karas

A travel ban raises the question of how disallowing entry or exit of a C= anadian citizen clashes with s. 7 of the Charter =E2=80=93 life, liberty an= d security, he says.


=E2=80=9CThis is the area in which we potentially may be entering in the= future,=E2=80=9D he says.

Karas adds there is little to no caselaw on the Quarantine Act and, to h= is knowledge, no one has ever challenged the act in court.

The spread of diseases such as coronavirus can also be curbed through th= e Aeronautics Act, Tokyo Convention and Chicago Convention, which regulate = air travel. The law puts a duty on airplane pilots to tell screening and qu= arantine officers about anyone suspected of having a communicable disease a= nd pilots have =E2=80=9Cbroad discretion=E2=80=9D to refuse boarding to pas= sengers, Karas says.

The Aeronautics Act also puts an obligation on airlines to report any il= lness on board their aircraft to a quarantine officer. 

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