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Federal Conservatives call for suspension of mandatory hotel quarantine after media report sexual assaults


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Federal Conservatives call for suspension of mandatory hotel quarantine after media report sexual assaults

Three federal Conservative shadow ministers called Wednesday night for the governing Liberals to suspend mandatory hotel quarantine for arriving international travellers after news media reported an alleged sexual assault at such a hotel.

“We are deeply angered to hear reports of sexual violence are happening during federally mandated quarantines by those supposed to be protecting public health … We call for the Liberals to suspend the hotel quarantine requirement until they have put measures in place to ensure the safety of Canadians,” read part of a statement from Michelle Rempel Garner, Shannon Stubbs and Jag Sahota.

Canada’s quarantine rules for international air travellers, which came into effect Monday, require incoming passengers to self-isolate for three nights in one of 18 government-approved hotels in Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver. Travellers must stay there until they get the results of their COVID-19 test.

CTV reports that Robert Shakory faces one count of sexual assault, one count of breaking and entering, and one count of criminal harassment after a Feb. 17 incident in a Montreal quarantine hotel.

The MPs also noted a case of a quarantine screening officer who allegedly demanded money from and then sexually assaulted a woman while doing a quarantine-compliance check at her home in Oakville on Feb. 18.

“The accused informed the victim that they were in violation of the quarantine order and demanded that a fine be paid in cash,” Halton police alleged. “When the victim declined to pay, she was sexually assaulted by the accused.”

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A 27-year-old Hamilton man was charged, and has since been released pending a court appearance in Milton on March 23.

The screening officer is employed by one of four private security companies hired and trained by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Police are not disclosing the name of the security company he works for, but said he has been suspended from that job.

Police reminded Halton residents that quarantine screening officers contracted by the Public Health Agency of Canada are not police and cannot issue tickets or conduct an arrest.

They also said an immediate demand for a payment of any kind should never be made in the course of a quarantine compliance check.

With files from InsideHalton.com

Manuela Vega is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Reach her via email: [email protected]

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