Civil rights group calls on Nunavut to review 14-day hotel isolation rules

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IQALUIT, Nunavut — The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says mandatory isolation required of travellers by the government of Nunavut during the COVID-19 pandemic is out of touch with the law and latest science.

Since March 2020, the government has said anyone who leaves the territory must quarantine for 14 days in a designated hotel in southern Canada before flying back.

In a letter to Nunavut Health Minister Lorne Kusugak, the civil liberties group urges the government to review its travel restrictions, saying they don't align with recommendations from the national panel on COVID-19 testing and screening.

The association writes that a seven-day quarantine, plus testing, would make sense for Nunavut travellers, given the territory's high vaccination rates.

The government says about 60 per cent of the territory's population is fully vaccinated.

Speaking in the legislative assembly, Kusugak said the territory's isolation rules will change before the end of summer, but wouldn't give a specific date.

"We are continually meeting, almost everyday, and we assess the situation day by day and see what we can do in order to deal with the situations at hand. We will continue to make the health and welfare of Nunavummiut our priority," Kusugak said.

"The charter requires that when governments restrict rights, they do so in a manner that is minimally intrusive. In the current circumstances, the ongoing requirement for a 14-day isolation period fails this test. We strongly urge you to revise these measures," the association's letter reads.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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