Now Accepting Applications: What Does It Take To Become A $2000 Quarantine Hotel In Canada?

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The Canadian Government is now in the final steps of implementing their 3 day hotel quarantine rule for international arrivals and has made public an application process for hotel owners/operators to serve as such a facility.

The hotels must be located near one of the four Canadian airports currently accepting international flights: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto & Montreal International Airport.

Canada is a little bit late to the party and at this point it’ll hardly make a difference as these hotel quarantines work when there is very little community spread like in Thailand. That is not Canada’s case and the number of positive cases imported by air appears to be minimal as people need to be tested before their flights.

So now the government is looking for hotels through an official bidding process:

On January 29, 2021, the Government of Canada announced enhanced testing and quarantine measures in addition to the pre-departure testing requirement already in place. Unless exempted, all air travellers entering Canada will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival, and book a 3-night stay in a hotel to await test results.

Hotels must be located near one of the 4 Canadian airports currently accepting international flights:

  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Calgary International Airport
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport
  • Montreal-Trudeau International Airport

The Government of Canada needs service providers located near the identified airports who can provide:

  • accommodation
  • check-in/check-out
  • transportation
  • meals
  • cleaning and sanitation

The full list of criteria to become a listed hotel is outlined below. Hotels that wish to become a listed hotel for the mandatory 3-night stays are invited to apply.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will:

  • review hotels’ submission
  • inform hotels if they have been selected
  • publish a list of hotels that travellers may select from

Selection criteria

The selection criteria to become a listed hotel fall under 10 key areas:

  1. Location of the hotel
  2. Access considerations
  3. Ventilation capacity
  4. Basic infrastructure/functional requirements
  5. Space requirements for the facility
  6. Traveller services
  7. Infection prevention and control infrastructure
  8. Cleaning
  9. Food safety
  10. Data reporting

This sounds like a rather tedious process and one that will include many problems for the operators who wish to apply for these quarantine contracts.

The building requirements aside, there are also many provisions that apply to the staff of the hotel. Remember hotel staff is employed as a hospitality worker and not medical staff so the tasks and risk level you can expose your employees to are likely legally limited, if not totally outside the union contract.

And then there is the cost of C$2000 for 3 days at these facilities. This measure has already drawn lots of flak from the Canadian Civil Liberties Union:

… The upcoming quarantine rule has faced resistance from civil liberties advocates concerned about its impact on mobility rights.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association said Monday it might unfairly impact Canadians — particularly lower-income travellers — who need to care for sick relatives or receive specialized medical care abroad.

In a letter to the federal transport minister and attorney general, the association demanded Ottawa carve out quarantine exemptions and fee waivers for certain situations. …

How on earth do they come up with a $2000 price tag for 3 days at some dump of a 3* airport hotel?

Our totally bonkers government of Canada has an excuse for this one as well:

Passengers will be billed for their hotel stay, and Ottawa has suggested the cost could be about $2,000. It’s unclear if two people sharing a room would have to pay double that amount.

Many people have questioned how a three-day stay in a hotel could total $2,000. The government says the amount would also cover related expenses, such as the cost of the test, transportation, food, hotel security and cleaning.

“It’s not just simply the cost of a hotel room,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said on Jan. 29.

He said travellers shouldn’t balk at the price tag.

“We think that if they’re going to make that choice [to travel], that they should bear the full cost and responsibility of all the measures that are necessary to keep Canadians safe.”

Once again an absolute bunch of hogwash coming from Ottawa. This has absolutely nothing to do with the real costs associated with this hotel stay and maybe a test. It’s simply a deterrence to keep people from traveling abroad. I can already see lawsuits on the horizon before the first guest has even been quarantined under this regulation.

Conclusion

These hotel quarantines can work when there is very little community spread, like is the case with Australia, Thailand and Taiwan that were right on target very early on in isolating the country from the outside world.

How could Canada seal its border efficiently enough to force hotel quarantines at this stage of the pandemic? The government has completely dropped the ball on this one. All of their measures came way too late, their vaccination program/progress is a disaster and now they want to lock Canadians in or highly penalize them when returning home.

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