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Woman fined $6,900 for breaking quarantine after driving from U.S. to West Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 10, 2021 at 2:26 pm PDT

FILE (Courtesy West Vancouver Police via Twitter)

Woman, 59, fined a total of $6,900 for breaking COVID-19 quarantine rules in West Vancouver

PHAC notified police after the woman entered through PAC Highway crossing and went to Lions Gate Hospital

Woman was returning home from a walk when an officer went West Vancouver home looking for her

WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A Canadian woman has been handed two fines worth a total of $6,900 in West Vancouver after she drove across the U.S.-Canada border and violated quarantine rules, police say.

The 59-year-old was given fines worth $3,450 each after concerns about breaching quarantine were passed along from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to West Vancouver Police.  According to a statement from police, the PHAC notified the department on March 4 that it believed the woman came into Canada through the Pacific Highway Border Crossing earlier that day and had breached Canada’s quarantine requirements.

“The PHAC alleged that the woman had not provided an adequate negative COVID-19 test upon arrival, and had visited someone at Lions Gate Hospital shortly after,” continues the statement.

A day later around 1:20 p.m., an officer went to a home in West Vancouver that the woman listed as her quarantine address.

She wasn’t at home when the officer first arrived and he saw her returning from a walk.

One fine issued was for the allegations made by PHAC, and the other was for “the breach of quarantine requirements as observed by the officer.”

While the woman claimed she was exempt from the required quarantine, she wasn’t able to prove it with documentation. She was directed back into quarantine at the West Vancouver home for the remainder of the isolation period.

“This is a stark reminder that we all have a responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19,” says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy. “There are strict government guidelines that specify how a person must quarantine upon entry to Canada, which includes a requirement to travel directly to their address of quarantine and to remain there for 14 days.”

Unless they are detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canadian citizens with valid passports cannot be denied entry into the country.

Enforcement of quarantine rules

In an email to NEWS 1130, PHAC notes all travellers are legally obligated to follow the 14-day quarantine period and will be subject to compliance and enforcement activities.

“Travellers are legally obligated to follow the instructions of a screening officer or quarantine officer through the 14-day period, whether in regards to testing, transit to locations, their mandatory hotel stopover or during quarantine at home or other suitable location. If they do not follow the instructions, there are penalties including a maximum fine of up to $750,000 or imprisonment for six months,” the email reads.

PHAC did not provide any further information on the matter but said it is looking into the situation.

CBSA explains in an email to NEWS 1130 that all travellers are subject to COVID-19 entry screening measures.

“As designated screening officers under the Quarantine Act, CBSA border services officers have the authority to review, challenge and confirm travellers’ statements. Where questions arise with regards to a traveller’s quarantine plan, health status or documents, the traveller is referred to a PHAC staff member who will make the final determination,” the email continues.

“Once a traveller is admitted into Canada, the responsibility to monitor and track the individuals from a public health perspective is not within the scope or mandate of the CBSA. This responsibility falls within the mandate of the Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial health authorities.”

CBSA notes it does not issue fines under the Quarantine Act, and the decision to pursue enforcement is up to PHAC and or the police.