Toronto woman concerned about how officials enforce 14-day quarantine rule in condos
TORONTO -- After making complaints throughout the pandemic about possible travellers breaking quarantine rules in her downtown condo building, Dimitra Doufekes says she isn’t clear who’s really responsible for monitoring potential quarantine breaches.
Doufekas said she’s observed people with luggage without masks and recently a man getting two COVID-19 tests in the hall across from her unit.
She said she tried getting answers from health officials, the city and police.
“I just felt like there was no enforcement at all,” she said. “I’m calling everywhere and everybody is telling me to call someone else and in the end, nothing is getting done.”
Doufekas said she wants confidence if travellers break the rules, authorities will step in.
“I contacted 311. They confirmed he was from California, he had come here and he was going to stay here short term,” she said.
“I’m not super afraid of getting COVID, but at the same time when you see a test done outside your doorway, it’s really very uncomfortable and you start to wonder what else is going on here? What else have they been exposed to?”
Under the upcoming stringent federal rules, after a traveller arrives in Canada and receives a negative result from a new mandatory test to be done at the airport — the traveller will be able to leave a government-approved hotel after three days and isolate.
“Those with negative test results will then be able to quarantine at home under significantly increased surveillance and enforcement,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.
A City of Toronto spokesperson said the Federal Quarantine Act enforcement in the city is within the purview of Toronto Police Service, and that all returning travellers must self-isolate under a quarantine order from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“The federal government enforces this by following up and conducting spot checks to verify compliance,” the spokesperson said.
To report non-compliance the city said people can contact Toronto’s Police’s non-emergency phone number at 416-808-2222 or the online.
CTV News has reached out to the federal government about what the increased surveillance and enforcement will look like moving forward compared to enforcement in the past.
“We are increasing the number of calls we're making from the federal government, we're hiring private security firms to help with those follow up and of course there will be a particular focus given on returning travelers who've gone through the process of the three day test results when they come back,” Trudeau said on Friday.
A spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada also said new screening officers will visit travellers’ quarantine locations to establish contact, confirm identity and confirm travellers are at the place of quarantine they identified to ensure compliance.
The visits start in Toronto and Montreal on Friday, Jan. 29.
“[They] may provide compliance education or issue verbal warnings, as required. Any cases that warrant a stronger enforcement action will be referred to PHAC, and PHAC will refer the case to law enforcement for follow-up.”