While fielding questions from reporters on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed concerns about travellers being detained in federal facilities emphasizing that the forced quarantines are “medically based isolations.”
“I think it’s extremely important to make a clear distinction that these aren’t detentions; these are medically based isolations,” Trudeau said during his daily coronavirus press conference.
“We are not detaining people. These are public health measures that are necessary to ensure that we are keeping Canadians safe, particularly given the arrival … of new variants in Canada, and extensively around the world.”
There have been several reports of Canadians being forced to isolate in hotel rooms and federal quarantine centres where conditions have been described as subpar and inhumane.
One Air Canada flight attendant Angelo Venegas described the conditions of his federally mandated quarantine in Calgary as prison-like.
“I feel like a prisoner in here, you know,” Venegas told CBC News.
According to him, the treatment he received while at the hotel was degrading and inhumane. Venegas described having to wait up to 15 hours to receive food which was in small “kid sized” portions.
Before arriving back in Canada, Venegas tested negative but the government rejected his quarantine plan after discovering he shares a home with his mother and sister.
Venegas also claimed that he had to beg hotel officials to get medical attention after a toe injury became infected.
“I said to them, listen, you guys take me to the hospital, or I will have to call 911 because I am in so much pain,” said Venegas.
“I should be able to get access to medical treatment right away.”
The new isolation centres are part of the federal government’s recent clamp down on travellers. So far, 11 facilities have been designated as isolation centres across the country.
Under the incoming federal travel restrictions, travellers can expect to pay up to $2,000 out of pocket to stay at a government designated isolation centre.