The Trudeau Liberals have granted hundreds of quarantine exemptions to international travellers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including to professional athletes and union negotiators for an automotive company.
Canada's border has been officially closed to non-Canadians since March 18, 2020, and to most American travellers since March 21.
The details on exemptions come in response to the following order paper question submitted by Conservative Party of Canada MP Dean Allison (Niagara West) on November 30, 2020:
With regard to conditions placed on individuals receiving national interest exemptions related to travel restrictions or quarantine requirements during the pandemic:
(a) how many individuals have received national interest exemptions since March 1. 2020;
(b) of the individuals in (a), how many have had conditions placed on their exemption;
(c) what is the breakdown of the type of condition placed on individuals (geographic restriction, limit on time in Canada etc.), including the number of individuals subject to each type of condition; and
(d) what costs have been incurred by the government in relation to facilitating national interest exemptions, broken down by item and type of expense?
In March, we reported that the entry rules included explicit exemptions for step-mothers-in-law and tutors.
The order paper question was returned on January 26, 2021.
Global Affairs Canada
Between March 1 and December 17 2020, Global Affairs granted 809 travel exemptions, including 324 quarantine exemptions:
(a) As of December 17, 809 individuals have received national interest exemptions issued by Global Affairs Canada (GAG) since March 1, 2020; 485 for entry only; 260 for entry and quarantine; and 64 for quarantine only.
(b) Of the 324 quarantine exemptions issued, 305 had conditions placed following the implementation of the amendment to the Mandatory Isolation Order in Council on June 19 allowing for the imposition of conditions on national interest exemptions from quarantine, and 19 were issued prior to that implementation.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (Minister Marco Mendicino)
From March 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020, the immigration department granted 1,540 entry exemptions, plus an additional 1,458 quarantine exemptions for pro athletes:
(a) From March 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020. IRCC granted 1540 individual national interest entry exemptions to the travel restrictions order (entering from any country except the US). No individual exemptions to quarantine were granted. In addition, there have been 1,458 individuals benefiting from 5 class-based quarantine exemptions granted to professional sporting leagues, specifically the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.
(b) Of the individuals given a national interest exemption to the travel restrictions none had conditions placed on their exemption. All individuals in receipt of quarantine exemptions as part of the five class-based exemptions for professional sports had conditions Imposed, therefore, a total of 1,458 individuals benefiting from 5 class-based exemptions granted to professional sporting leagues, specifically the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Minister Bill Blair)
Since March 1, 2020, Public Safety granted 14 quarantine exemptions, including five for a labour negotiation:
The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has approved a total of fourteen National Interest Exemptions (NIEs) since March 1, 2020.
In May 2020, five NIEs were granted for family to attend the funeral of an Armed Forces member.
In July 2021 three NIEs were granted to individuals employed in the shipbuilding industry related to a Government of Canada defence project.
In September 2020, one exemption was granted to a witness to attend a criminal proceeding in person after the Court denied an application for the witness to testify remotely.
In November 2020, five NIEs were granted to individuals facilitating union negotiations on behalf of a large automotive company.