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Justice Centre brings legal challenge against ArriveCAN and quarantine measures


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News Release from The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

TORONTO: The Justice Centre filed a lawsuit today in the Federal Court of Canada, on behalf of 11 Canadians either fined for not using the ArriveCAN and/or ordered to quarantine for 14 days after returning home from abroad. The Applicants involved in this legal challenge have received fines of up to $8,500 each and been forced to disclose private medical information via ArriveCAN. The legal challenge seeks to strike down the mandatory use of ArriveCAN and declare unconstitutional the 14-day quarantine requirements for Canadians who refuse to use ArriveCAN when returning home.

ArriveCan was initially implemented in April 2020 to force Canadian citizens returning home to submit quarantine plans due to Covid. It was mandated for air travellers November 21, 2020. In February 2021, the federal government mandated ArriveCan for all land travellers, while the US-Canada land crossing was still closed. After the Covid vaccine rollouts, travellers were required to upload their vaccination certificates onto the ArriveCAN app.

Mr. Matthew Leccese, one of the applicants, went to the United States for 25 minutes to pick up some parts for his vehicle. Upon his return, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) demanded that he submit his vaccination certificate via ArriveCAN. Mr. Leccese refused because he had privacy concerns with ArriveCAN, but offered to present his vaccination certificate. CBSA refused to accept his paper certificate and issued him a ticket for $7,210 for not using ArriveCAN.

Mr. Alexander Macdonald, another applicant, attempted to cross the U.S. border in April 2022. He was refused entry by U.S. border agents and was allowed to return to Canada without issue. He tried to cross the U.S. border again in July 2022 and was again denied entry and returned to the Canadian side of the border. This time a CBSA agent ordered Mr. Macdonald to download ArriveCAN and submit to the 14-day quarantine despite never having set foot in the U.S.

Ms. Amanda Yates returned to Canada via a land crossing. Her husband used ArriveCAN on their behalf, but a glitch in the system sent them to secondary screening. She refused to disclose her vaccination status and was fined and required to quarantine for 14 days.  Her husband did disclose his vaccination status, and was not required to quarantine, despite living in the same house with Ms. Yates.

A glitch with ArriveCAN sent an automated message to over 10,000 vaccinated Canadians, requiring them to quarantine for 14 days. It took the government 12 days to inform the affected individuals that the app had malfunctioned.

ArriveCAN continues to come under heavy criticism for creating massive delays at international crossings. In July 2022, Toronto Pearson International Airport ranked number one worst airport in terms of delays and there were also significant delays reported at Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport.

The Minister of Transport has defended ArriveCan as vital in preventing the spread of Covid despite evidence that vaccines cannot stop transmission or infection. The minister also claimed ArriveCAN has not caused the ongoing travel backlog, despite evidence that the CBSA agents have stated it is in fact causing delays.

The Justice Centre has filed a Notice of Application against the federal government and is awaiting a trial date.

“The Justice Centre has heard from thousands of Canadians who have been negatively impacted by the federal government’s mandatory requirement to use ArriveCan. Thousands of law-abiding citizens have been fined egregiously simply for returning to their home country. The differential treatment and discriminating between vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers also defies science, which the federal government claims to follow,” says Eva Chipiuk, a lawyer on this case.

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Emergency manager to take the stand for third day at ‘Freedom Convoy’ trial

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Kim Ayotte, General Manager of Emergency and Protective Services at the City of Ottawa, arrives at the courthouse in Ottawa where he will appear as a witness at the trial of “Freedom Convoy” organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang


Ottawa’s emergency services manager is expected to take the stand for a third day in the criminal trial of two “Freedom Convoy” organizers.

Tamara Lich and Chris Barber are co-accused for their role in the protest that blocked city streets around Parliament Hill and nearby residential areas.

Kim Ayotte oversees city bylaw enforcement, paramedic and fire services and the department responsible for special events.

Earlier this week he testified about some of the traffic, noise and other disruptions he witnessed during the protest.

He also talked about working with Barber on a deal between protest organizers and the city to move trucks out of residential neighbourhoods.

That plan ultimately failed after an incident involving police, but Ayotte says he was given only limited information as to what happened.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2023.

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Lawyer raises Jordan concerns in ‘Freedom Convoy’ case as delays drag on

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Tamara Lich arrives at the courthouse for trial in Ottawa on Monday, September 18, 2023. The criminal trial of two “Freedom Convoy” organizers is expected to hear the city’s perspective on the controversial protest as Ottawa’s emergency manager takes the stand. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

By Laura Osman in Ottawa

The defence lawyer for one of the “Freedom Convoy” organizers says she will need to consider asking for the case to be dismissed if his trial continues to be plagued with delays.

Chris Barber and Tamara Lich were arrested last year on Feb. 17 in the final days of the convoy protest that clogged the streets of Ottawa in demonstration against COVID-19 public health measures.

They were co-accused of mischief and counselling others to commit mischief and other offences.

The trial began Sept. 5, and was scheduled to run for 16 days — but it’s been slow moving, and court has so far only finished the testimony of three witnesses.

The original timeline now appears to be all but impossible, as the judge looks for more trial dates in October and November.

Barber’s lawyer Diane Magas says if the delays continue, she will need to consider making a Jordan application, which stipulates that any person charged with a crime has the right to be tried within a reasonable time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2023.

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