The Democracy Fund client faced $11,140 in fines for crossing the border after seeking medical treatment in the US.
TORONTO: Several years ago, The Democracy Fund's (TDF) client - a 60-year-old grandfather - suffered a severe stroke, resulting in partial memory loss and paralysis to the left side of his body. As part of his long journey to recovery, he sought medical treatment in the US. During one such return trip in the midst of the pandemic-related travel restrictions, he was pulled aside by Canadian border guards and issued 2 tickets: one for failing to provide a valid PCR test and another for failure to complete the ArriveCan app. The potential fines totalled $11,140.
The client, struggling to rebuild his business and finances after lockdown losses, retained TDF for legal assistance. TDF entered into negotiations with the Crown, taking the position that the client had a valid medical exemption when he crossed the border seeking treatment with a specialist. After several discussions, TDF was recently advised that the Crown decided to stay the ticket.
Mark Joseph, senior litigation counsel with TDF, said, "The client arguably had a valid exemption, and we're pleased that the Crown decided not to pursue the tickets. During the pandemic, it was difficult for lawyers to stay abreast of the constantly-changing rules regarding exemptions under the Quarantine Act; it was much more difficult for regular folks to do so."
The client was pleased with the outcome, saying: "To be penalized by the Canadian Border Services for wanting full recovery of my health was absurd to me. Therefore I reached out to Democracy Fund for assistance because I had only started back to work full time and was playing catch up financially, having been off from the stroke. The Democracy Fund stepped up big time and helped me in having all the charges dropped."
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About The Democracy Fund:
Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.