BlogCanada’s new line of immigration business: The Quarantine Plan

11 August 2020

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COVID-19 has introduced an extraordinary number of measures which affect virtually every aspect of immigration processing but, interestingly enough, it has created a new line of business – the quarantine plan.

Shortly after emergency measures were introduced at border crossings in mid-March, there were numerous stories of family members being separated and unable to join relatives in Canada. In the midst of these stories, clients began contacting us as immigration lawyers to assist them with a strategy to be reunited with their family members. In addition to setting out the various laws pertaining to COVID which allow for the re-unification of immediate relatives of Canadian citizens or permanent residents, an essential element was to demonstrate the manner in which the arriving individual would be able to quarantine and live separate from their family members (or co-workers) for 14 days.

The COVID environment at the port of entry, is anything but clear and predictable. For example, less than two weeks ago, an essential worker arrived to obtain a work permit. As an essential worker in infrastructure, he is exempt from the need to quarantine. However, we still prepared a Quarantine plan for him to make sure that he would be permitted entry. His employer had arranged for private accommodation, had stocked the residence with food and supplies, and had provided a letter confirming that he would facilitate the worker’s isolation if and as necessary. The worker was permitted to enter Canada and issued a work permit. The following day after arrival, he was sent a letter confirming that as an essential worker, he was exempt from the provisions of the Quarantine Act requiring him to self-isolate for 14 days. Two days later, the same worker was sent a further letter telling him that he was required to quarantine for 14 days!

What exactly is a Quarantine Plan? There is no checklist nor application forms as there is for virtually every immigration application type. However, at our immigration law office, we assimilate a number of documents to make it easy for the CBSA officer at the port of entry, to determine that the individual is allowed to enter Canada in accordance with the various COVID-19 provisions. This includes identity documents for the both the individual(s) entering Canada as well as their Canadian family members, if they are coming to join Canadian relatives. In the case of workers, it is vital to clearly demonstrate how the person’s employment fits squarely into the definition of an essential worker. We provide proof of the accommodation that the individuals will have access to and generally provide photos that clearly show that a person’s living space will be self-contained and separate from other family members living in the same residence. We recommend a letter from the person entering Canada that acknowledges the need to self-isolate for 14 days as well as the steps that will be taken to ensure that they are able to comply. The further supporting information may be letters from relatives, friends, neighbours or employers confirming that they will provide the necessary groceries, supplies and/or medication that may be required. It is necessary to demonstrate a clear understanding and recognition of what is required in order to quarantine in isolation for 14 days as well as the means to do so!

COVID-19 has introduced many new challenges for people entering or returning to Canada. Our goal for our clients is to make the process as seamless and stress free as possible and we encourage the preparation of a Quarantine Plan to minimize the risk of being denied entry.

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Sas and Ing Immigration Law Centre LLP

A partnership between Catherine Sas Law Corporation and Victor Ing Law Corporation

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