Public safety minister grilled over quarantine hotel security after alleged assaults

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OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair is facing harsh questions over security under the federal quarantine program after reports of two incidents of alleged sexual assault.

At a parliamentary committee hearing Wednesday, Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs grilled Blair over safeguards for hotel guests and background checks for screening officers who work at the federally mandated hotels and do compliance checks at homes.

Blair told the committee that quarantine measures have been effective and that any allegations should be thoroughly investigated.

He diverted questions on the hotel quarantine program to the Public Health Agency of Canada that oversees it, saying he has no jurisdiction over it.

A government order that took effect Feb. 22 requires anyone entering Canada by airplane to stay in a federally approved hotel for the first three nights of a 14-day quarantine.

Police have arrested two men accused of sexual assault related to quarantine measures, including one at a Montreal hotel another involving a compliance check in Oakville, Ont.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press