Ottawa, ON – The Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, issued a statement regarding the government’s federal quarantine hotel policy:

“Canada’s Conservatives were the first to call for the Liberals to enact border measures to secure our country from the threat of COVID-19. At that time, the Liberal government instead claimed that border measures would make the situation worse. If they had acted more quickly at the beginning, Canada would have been better positioned to fight the pandemic.

“A year later, the Liberals instituted a federal hotel quarantine requirement for those entering Canada. Over the past week, horrifying reports of sexual assault, unsafe and deplorable conditions at federal quarantine hotel facilities have emerged. We have heard reports that it is taking hours to get through to book these hotels, dietary restrictions are not being met, and food and water are not always readily available.

“We also are concerned by the haphazard patchwork of exemptions and the lack of consideration for compassionate travellers. Further, this program does not contextualize the reality of the volume of day-to-day traffic at Canada’s land border with the United States. When asked at the Health Committee about these emerging reports, and what data demonstrates that the hotel requirement leads to better public health outcomes than safely quarantining at home, government officials were unable to answer.

“This is not who we are as Canadians. We cannot stand by and watch as Canadian mothers and daughters, our sisters and brothers, are subjected to this. We can protect Canada from an influx of new cases by using the tools already at our disposal: pre and post-arrival rapid testing and at-home quarantine, without subjecting them to this type of deplorable treatment.

“It is time for the government to permanently bring an end to this deeply flawed program and replace it with a more effective system of enhanced pre- and post-arrival testing for international travellers and better and safer enforcement of the at-home quarantine. Canada’s Conservatives will continue to call for the government to enact a real plan to protect Canadians in the COVID-19 pandemic.”