It’s no longer a request, but an order.
Most people will be subject to a legally mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entering Canada, and those who skirt the isolation period could face criminal sanctions or fines under the Quarantine Act, the government announced Wednesday.
“The health minister will be using powers that she has under the Quarantine Act beginning at midnight tonight to impose a mandatory 14-day period of isolation on all people coming into Canada from outside,” said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland during a press conference.
The quarantine goes into effect at 11:59pm Wednesday night.
Freeland declined to elaborate on how the government will monitor and enforce the quarantine, but promised more information would be released later Wednesday.
People whose jobs have been deemed essential, such as healthcare workers and supply chain truck drivers, will be exempt from the mandatory quarantine, Freeland said.
Under the new measures, anyone showing symptoms will be barred from taking public transit and those who have to self-isolate must do so away from people who are vulnerable to the disease.
Provincial and federal authorities have been clamping down on people who have been willfully ignoring the advice of public health officials.
Police arrested a 53-year old woman from Corner Brook. Nfld. for ignoring orders to self-isolate. She’s now being held in custody after arriving from outside the province.
“Medical officials have been loud and clear this virus could devastate our community. If you put people at risk we will take every measure available to us,” said police media relations officer James Cadigan.
Last weekend, police similarly arrested a woman in Quebec City for breaching her isolation.
According to the city’s health services centre CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale, police will surveil Canadians who have been issued an isolation order and make an arrest if they are found to have disobeyed it.
“The Public Health Act accords our director of public health the power to put into action all appropriate measures where the non-respect of instructions can jeopardize the health and security of the public,” claimed the CIUSS in a press release.