Returning travellers legally required to quarantine: Ottawa

The title page of Canada's Quarantine Act on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The federal government has announced that travellers returning to Canada will be legally required to stay at home for 14 days. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

OTTAWA – Before it was a strong suggestion to “self-isolate,” now it’s the law to “quarantine.”

Federal Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Wednesday that travellers coming back to Canada will be legally required to quarantine at home for 14 days.

Freeland says “mandatory isolation” is needed to flatten the curve of the novel coronavirus.

The quarantines, enforced by the Quarantine Act, take effect after midnight tonight and can lead to fines or arrests for violations.

The government will be collecting the contact information of all non-essential travellers coming back into the country to make sure they follow the law. The quarantine won’t retroactively apply to people who returned before midnight tonight.

There is an exemption for essential workers, already allowed the cross the Canada-U.S. border, since the border was shut down to non-essential travel.

The law is the same one that covered the repatriated Canadians who stayed at Nav Center after being rescued from the Diamond Princess cruise ship last month.