59-year-old decorated military veteran had his $5, 750 COVID-related fine stayed by the Crown.
The veteran traveled to the United States to receive medical treatment during the height of COVID-related public health restrictions, when testing requirements were instituted by the Canadian federal government. This provision on freedom of movement was placed on all travellers, including Canadian citizens who wanted to return to home.
Adam Blake-Gallipeau – counsel with Canadian charity The Democracy Fund (TDF) who represented their client at no cost to him – was able to secure this stay after weeks of negotiations with the Crown.
“TDF took the position that the client had a valid exemption to the PCR requirement, and that given his service to his country and his medical and financial condition, there was no public interest in pursuing this matter. Fortunately, it seems that we were able to convince the Crown of our view,” Blake-Gallipeau comments.
Yet he still tried to comply.
“He obtained a rapid antigen test which he produced for the border agents upon return to Canada. Border officials, however, chose to issue a $5,750 ticket to our client for crossing the border without a valid PCR test,” the press release from TDF reads.
The decorated military veteran had served in the Canadian military for decades, as a specialist and missile crewman. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and physical and cognitive disabilities after being wounded during his service. He relies on the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to make ends meet, while renting a one-bedroom apartment.
“I would have had to declare bankruptcy if I had been forced to pay this unjust fine,” the client stated to TDF about the win.
PCR tests were never approved for use in asymptomatic (i.e. healthy) individuals.
Under “Intended Use,” the test pamphlet states that it is for “individuals who meet COVID-19 clinical and/or epidemiological criteria.”
The product monograph further states that the test identifies “potentially” contagious individuals, is most accurate on days 0-3 after symptom onset or suspected exposure, and slightly less accurate in detecting positive cases on days 4-7.