In an effort to safeguard Canada against Coronavirus (COVID-19), on March 26, 2020, Canada implemented a mandatory self-isolation of 14-days to any person entering Canada by air, sea or land, whether they were asymptomatic, or exhibited signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 under the Quarantine Act.

On April 14, 2020, PM Trudeau updated the Quarantine Act, effective for April 15, 2020 that anyone returning to Canada from abroad by air, land or sea, whether asymptomatic or not, must have a “credible quarantine plan” or will be forced to spend 14 days in isolation in a “quarantine location”. A plan is inadequate if there is no set destination. The approved Quarantine locations are being designated by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and the federal government will cover the costs to place these individuals in a quarantine location and will be responsible for making sure they have access to essential services including food and medication.

Previously, the Government of Canada implemented a procedure for random checks by phone or in person, to verify and ensure compliance with self-isolation and/or quarantine. It was more of an honour system, which, if violated, would be subject to fines and potential prison time.  Those not self-isolating, could face fines of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment up to six months. Also, if a person causes risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person and willfully or recklessly contravenes this Act or the regulations, they may be subject to up to $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three years. It is even more important now to comply with these rules as the number of deaths soar due to COVID-19.

Under the Quarantine Act, there are  exceptions for individuals who cross the border regularly to ensure the supply chain, and also for “essential services”; however, they too must practice social distancing and self-monitor their health and report any health concerns to their local public health authority if they feel sick.