A healthcare law review submitted to the European Parliament in May took aim at the Canadian government for having some of the strictest Covid-19 restrictions in the world.

The report, Right to health, a comparative law perspective: Canada, published by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) and authored by McGill University law professor Dr Derek Jones, was a survey of the country’s legal system as it pertains to healthcare rights. The EU has published similar reports about other countries.

“Many stringent and invasive public health measures for the Covid pandemic – curfews, capacity-restrictions in restaurants, the closure of bars and nightclubs for months, locking of office buildings, stoppage and restrictions on international travel – have severely curtailed or arrested commercial trade in vital sections of Canada’s economy,” the report said.

The report notes that Canada’s Quarantine Act also empowered the Liberal government to impose “unprecedented travel and isolation” requirements on Canadians. 

“(The Act has) served as the legal source of some of Canada’s unprecedented travel and isolation restrictions to combat the spread of Covid in this 21st century,” the report noted.  “It has also been the legal authority for stealing Canadian borders or restricting non-essential travel during the pandemic, for vaccination requirements for entry and egress, and for the summer 2021-winter 2022 requirement that Canadians returning by air submit to a Covid test and isolate for up to 72 hours at border quarantine hotels, at the travellers’ expense, while awaiting negative results.”

Several portions of the study also discussed challenges to pandemic mandates.

“By the Winter of 2022, significantly more cases were flowing into the courts. Still, Canada’s relative ‘paucity’ of high court cases contrasts significantly with nations like France, India and the United States, even though some of Canada’s provincial and federal Covid public health measures have been amongst the strictest in North America,” the EPRS report said. 

The report detailed how one Newfoundland family successfully challenged their provincial government’s travel restrictions. Taylor v Newfoundland resulted in the provincial supreme court siding with the family who was attempting to attend their father’s funeral on the grounds of mobility rights. 

A disclaimer to the report notes that it was “prepared for, and addressed to” members and staff of the European Parliament to “assist them in their parliamentary work” but it does not “necessarily represent” the parliament’s official position.

Canada’s strict Covid-19 measures are being met with increasing international scrutiny. Multiple US senators have demanded that Canada be added to a Special Watch List for countries that violate religious freedom rights. 

Additionally, the International Air Transport Association has also demanded that the Liberals immediately drop all Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions.

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