The Ontario Superior Court has denied an interim injunction to halt the Trudeau government’s use of mandatory quarantine hotels for international travelers.

On Monday, a judge ruled against the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s (CCF) attempt to have the mandatory hotels closed until a court hears their constitutional challenge to the policy.

In his decision, Justice Fred Myers ruled the quarantine hotels do not cause enough harm to warrant an injunction before the constitutional challenge takes place. 

“Through tremendous effort and some help from other litigation that is already underway elsewhere, the government has delivered a very full evidentiary record. The applicants might want to file more evidence. Both sides may want to cross-examine witnesses from the other side,” he wrote.

Earlier in March, the CCF launched a court challenge to the policy of forcing people to pay out of pocket to stay in quarantine hotels, which the CCF says violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

The CCF is working with five individuals who were forced to stay in quarantine hotels after travelling abroad for compassionate reasons.

The mandatory hotel policy has been criticized for multiple reasons. Along with questions of legality, people staying in the hotels have reported horrible conditions and mistreatment by staff.

At least once instance of sexual assault is reported to have occured in a quarantine hotel.

While the decision is disappointing to the CCF, Litigation Director Christine Van Geyn says the decision infers that the court takes their challenge seriously.

“This was not the result we wanted today, but the court did recognize that the applicants in our challenge have sympathetic stories and that the constitutional questions need to be heard on the merits. The court also acknowledged that the applicants’ section 7 Charter liberty interests are engaged by the quarantine hotel policy,” she said.

“We look forward to the hearing on the full constitutional question, and we are proud of the work we are doing assisting these travelers, who need to leave Canada for compassionate reasons. We will seek to expedite the hearing, as these travelers have urgent needs to go and be with their ailing loved ones outside of Canada.” 

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