Canada will use ‘every measure in our toolbox’ to prevent COVID-19 spread, minister says

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Health Minister Patty Hajdu delivered a strong message to Canadians on preventing the spread of the coronavirus, saying that while the government would prefer not to penalize those who are asked to stay in self-isolation — it will if it has to.

“Let me be perfectly clear,” Hajdu told reporters on Sunday. “We will use every measure in our toolbox at the federal level to ensure compliance.”

“Just because you are not feeling the illness or you don’t have necessarily in your community even one case. What we’re trying to do so diligently together at all levels of government is prevent this disease from spreading towards other communities, and everybody has a part to play in that.”

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The health minister referred to the powers mandated in the Federal Quarantine Act, which has measures that could include arrests, as well as “monetary penalties up to and including criminal penalties.”

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The act has jurisdiction over international borders and travel, and several provinces have already enacted Quarantine Acts of their own.

In Nova Scotia, the province’s Health Protection Act will allow police to enforce orders related to self-isolation and social distancing, as well as fine individuals $1,000 for not adhering to the rules.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Health minister says collective action is needed from all Canadians

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