Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared on Wednesday that he is in favour of using interprovincial travel restrictions in order to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, CBC News reports.
"Every step of the way, I've been supporting premiers and territorial leaders on what they need to do to keep people safe," Trudeau told CBC Radio after being asked whether he supports such travel restrictions.
"As we saw with the Atlantic bubble, as we saw with the the Arctic territories, they make decisions around closing off the regions. That is something that we are supportive of."
The comments come as NDP British Columbia Premier John Horgan is considering implementing travel restrictions on his province in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. British Columbia is currently experiencing a third wave of the virus.
"We've not taken anything off the table, but practicality is first and foremost in our mind," Horgan said while discussing the issue. We will use the tools that are available to us if we believe they are effective, but deployment of those tools is a challenge. We haven't taken travel restrictions off the board, quite frankly."
Such restrictions may be announced as early as Thursday.
The Maritime provinces, along with Newfoundland and Labrador, have already implemented similar restrictions known as the "Atlantic bubble," allowing free travel between the four provinces while banning travelers from other provinces.
Such travel restrictions raise constitutional questions, however. Section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees mobility rights for all Canadians, including the rights "to move to and take up residence in any province" and "to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province."
In September of last year, a court in Newfoundland and Labrador ruled that while the travel restrictions do violate Section 6, they are permitted by Section 1 which allows for "reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." The decision is currently being appealed by the Canadian Civil Liberties Union.
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