Dear Canadians,

It turns out that your Charter rights only apply if you can afford them. Section 6(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.

This is one of the few rights not subject to the Charter’s “notwithstanding” clause:

Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter.

Except that, going forward, Canadians will only have this Charter right if they can afford it. Indeed, Canadians returning home will be required to pay over $2,000 to stay three nights in a government-supervised quarantine hotel. Unfortunately, this is infeasible for Canadian students studying abroad, some of whom have been living and studying abroad for years.

Here is an open letter I sent to Minister Hajdu, the Minister of Health, and Minister Alghabra, the Minister of Transport:

Dear Ministers Hajdu and Alghabra,

I am a Canadian citizen completing a PhD in the United States.
The Globe and Mail reports that your new travel rules will
require that travellers "spend the first three days of their
quarantine at a supervised hotel and take a COVID-19 test at
their own expense", a measure "which is expected to cost
travellers about $2,000 each" [0].

As a low-income student, $2,000 is a prohibitive expense: it
represents over two months' worth of living expenses for me.
Your new regulations make it extremely financially difficult for
me to return to Canada, yet I will be forced to leave the United
within 30 days of graduation.

How will the Canadian government help low-income students return
home after their studies? How do these new regulations not
present an undue burden that infringes on my §6(1) Charter
rights? Is it the Government's policy that Canadian students
abroad should abandon their studies immediately to avoid the
financial hardship posed by these new rules?

Yours sincerely,
Ryan Kavanagh