The tally for the forced quarantine incarcerations of returning international travellers in hotels allocated as the 38 designated quarantine facilities (DQFs) rests at $334 million over three years.
A report published in Blacklock's Reporter notes the cost to taxpayers worked out to $17,500 per traveller for the often three-day stay in a DQF while travellers awaited the results of a clear COVID-19 test.
"The costs associated with this program included lodging, meals, security, traveler support and transportation,” said a Department of Health briefing note by Designated Quarantine Facilities. “A total of 22,188 travelers were quarantined or isolated at designated quarantine facilities between March 22, 2020 and September 30, 2022.”
The June 19 note put total costs at hundreds of millions.
The note said:
$338.7 million was expended on designated quarantine facilities,” the equivalent of $17,500 per traveler. The data were “not previously published only as accounting continues given the program was recently cancelled.
The requirement to isolate upon return from abroad was dropped on October 1, 2022, when border restrictions ended. At the time, the Public Health Agency of Canada was still managing 18 DFS in 14 cities nationwide.
An earlier order paper question on the costs of a DQF in Calgary posed by Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner uncovered a one-time $26.8 million payment to the Westin Calgary Airport to quarantine 1,490 travellers.
The cost per traveller in that payment broke down to nearly 18,000 per victim of COVID interment.