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How an Ontario man's forgotten email password resulted in a $6,255 Quarantine Act fine at the U.S. border –



Crossing home from the U.S. to Canada in a taxi at the end of July, Saadi Kadhum rolled down the window and pulled out his phone to show the border officer the email confirming his negative COVID-19 test.

But as he readied his thumbs to punch in his email password, he froze. Try as he might, he couldn’t remember it — a forgetful moment that would cost him $6,255 in fines.

Kadhum, 56, said he felt increasingly frazzled as he tried variation after variation with no luck, stuck on the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor. 

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“The officer was on me,” said Kadhum who works in the construction industry and lives in the Toronto area. “He wasn’t even letting me leave the taxi.”

Kadhum who’d gone to the U.S. to attend his daughter’s wedding a few days earlier, said he was eventually locked out of his email account and needed to access a computer to verify his identity.

“If they would’ve given me two, three minutes to go in the computer, we wouldn’t have this issue,” he said. “I’m not a young fellow who knows everything about technology.” 

Ticket felt like only way to get home

Instead, Kadhum said he was given two options.

He could try to go back to the pharmacy to print out his test result, which actually wasn’t possible because he’d need to first show proof of the negative test, now out of reach behind email security, to re-enter the U.S.

Or he could go home, but be charged the maximum fine under the Quarantine Act — $5,000 plus “a victim fine surcharge and costs” under the offence: “failure to comply with an order prohibiting or subjecting to any condition the entry into Canada.” The total fine would be $6,255.

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Feeling like he had no choice, Kadhum said he accepted the ticket, seen by CBC News, plus 14 days of mandatory quarantine, despite providing proof he’s fully vaccinated through the government’s ArriveCan app, which he was still able to access on his phone. (Travellers are required to upload their vaccine documents through the app, but not COVID test results.)

That isolation period also meant two weeks of lost wages for Kadhum.

His case is one of several that’s been reported in recent days as Canada’s border with the U.S. reopens and travellers are required to navigate providing proof of vaccination, as well as a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours of crossing.

One man told CBC News he was forced to quarantine for 14 days even though he was denied entry into the U.S. and never actually crossed the border. Other fully vaccinated travellers say they’ve received dozens of calls and emails from the Canadian government asking them to verify they’re self-isolating even though they’ve been exempt from quarantine.

Traveller responsible for documents, CBSA says

The Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) said in email statement it is unable to comment on specific cases, but that officers have the authority to review, challenge and confirm travellers’ statements.

“Before making a decision a (border services officer) will review and consider each traveller’s unique circumstances, the purpose of the trip and the documents presented at the time of entry,” said CBSA spokesperson Rebecca Purdy. 

It’s up to the traveller to prove they meet the requirements to not quarantine, which includes providing a recent negative COVID-19 test at the border, she said.

A Canadian border guard directs a motorist at the Rainbow International Bridge border crossing, in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Aug. 9, 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The problems continued when Kadhum returned to his Richmond Hill, Ont., home that night, unlocked his email and accessed the document verifying his negative test.

He said when he called the Public Health Agency of Canada and the CBSA the next day to provide the proof, they told him it was too late and there was nothing they could do. Public Health did not respond to a request for comment.

Over the next two weeks, Kadhum said public health officials called and came to his house to ensure he was complying with the order. He completed another COVID-19 test, which also came back negative, but was still under the two-week quarantine.

Kadhum is in the process of appealing the ticket through the court system, but wanted to share his story to warn other travellers — and remind them to print out all their documents just in case.

“I don’t want this to happen to any other Canadian,” he said. “It’s not fair.” 

‘Unreasonable rigidity’ by CBSA, professor says

Kelly Sundberg, a professor at Mount Royal University, who worked for 15 years as a CBSA officer, said while travellers do have a responsibility to have their documents ready when crossing a border, Kadhum’s case demonstrates an “unreasonable rigidity.” 

“If there’s zealous enforcement action being taken where there’s no flexibility and there’s no opportunity to provide information in an alternate means, where there’s no accommodating travellers’ needs, that’s concerning,” he said.

The CBSA, for example, could make computers available for the public to access electronic documents in case their cell phone batteries die during long journeys, or if they have technical problems like Kadhum, Sundberg suggested. 

He also advocates for independent oversight of the CBSA, like other law enforcement agencies have in Canada. That way travellers could file complaints or challenge penalties to an impartial body that could lead to improvements, he said.

While CBSA has always had a lot of power, Sundberg said the new and ever-changing COVID-19 travel rules demonstrate gaps in oversight and transparency.

“Frankly, it’s embarrassing,” Sundberg said. “If we had oversight, these issues would be dealt with in a much more amicable way instead of having to have this dealt with by the media and other services. It’s really unfortunate.” 

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Military faces calls to return general to duty after sexual assault acquittal



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Retired colonel Michel Drapeau, who is now a lawyer specializing in military cases, says the acquittal should pave the way for Fortin should be immediately assigned to a new role with full duties.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2022.

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Family members of 23 detained Canadians are asking the court to order the government to arrange for their return, saying that refusing to do so violates the Charter.

Federal lawyer Anne Turley told the court today there is no legal obligation to facilitate repatriation of these Canadians in the Charter, statute or international law.

A handful of women and children have returned from the region in recent years, but Canada has, for the most part, not followed the path of other countries that have successfully repatriated citizens.

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Even so, Global Affairs Canada recently determined that six women and 13 children included in the court case have met a threshold under its policy framework for providing extraordinary assistance — meaning Canada might step in.

The Canadian citizens are among the many foreign nationals in Syrian camps run by Kurdish forces that reclaimed the war-torn region from the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 6, 2022.

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Federal Court of Appeal uphold the rules that bolster compensation for air passengers subjected to delayed flights and damaged luggage



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Air Canada, Porter Airlines and several other parties had argued that the passenger rights charter launched in 2019 violates global standards.

The appellants argued the charter should be rendered invalid for international flights.

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