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BC Travel Restrictions Unconstitutional, No New Fines Needed

November 19, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2020

TORONTO – The Canadian and British Columbia Civil Liberties Associations are raising concerns about travel restrictions expected to be announced today and how they will be enforced.

“There is no mass interprovincial refugee crisis affecting British Columbia. COVID is very real, but this proposed solution of violating Canadians mobility rights is no solution. It’s an unconstitutional gimmick to look tough on COVID,” said Michael Bryant, Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). 
 
“The Premier yesterday forecasted his Government’s intention to limit interprovincial travel across Canada, contrary to the mobility rights protections in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.   No data exists proving that a ban on interprovincial travel is necessary, nor any evidence that quarantine restrictions are not working as planned.”

“Our rights to mobility are so fundamental that the Charter’s notwithstanding clause cannot even be used to violate them” said Meghan McDermott, Staff Counsel, of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. “Our governments have a duty to consider and implement effective measures that do not lessen our rights before entertaining something as drastic as an interprovincial travel ban.”
 
“There is no evidence that additional fines affect compliance. What we do know is that when fines are introduced it’s racialized minorities and Indigenous people who are wrongly targeted,” concluded Bryant.

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About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association
The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from British Columbia and across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.

About the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
The BCCLA has been actively advancing human rights and civil liberties through litigation, law reform, community-based legal advocacy, and public engagement and education since 1962.

The BCCLA and CCLA are separate organizations
 
Contact the CCLA: media@ccla.org
Alex Nanoff, 613-709-6318

Contact the BCCLA: meghan@bccla.org
Meghan McDermott, Senior Staff Counsel and Interim Policy Director 778-679-8906

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