Top court to examine COVID-related entry limits imposed by Newfoundland and Labrador

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will weigh the constitutionality of a pandemic-related restriction that curbed travel for public-health reasons.

The top court has agreed to hear arguments about a 2020 order from Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer that limited the circumstances in which non-residents could enter the province.

Nova Scotia resident Kimberley Taylor went to court after being denied an exemption to attend her mother’s funeral in Newfoundland four years ago.

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland ruled the legislation giving rise to the order was within the competence of the province as a valid public-health measure.

The court also found the order violated Taylor’s constitutional right to travel anywhere in Canada, but that the circumstances of the pandemic justified the infringement under the Charter.

The province’s Court of Appeal declined to hear an appeal and cross-appeal on the basis they were moot, as the travel restrictions were no longer in effect.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2024.

The Canadian Press