Ontario couple forced into 14-day quarantine after U.S. return despite being fully vaccinated

TORONTO — A fully vaccinated Ontario couple has been quarantining in their home for the last nine days after being told they must do so upon their arrival in Canada.

Patricia and Basil McDonald were returning from Florida to Toronto via Pearson Airport on July 7.

Fully vaccinated, and having just completed a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior, they didn’t expect to run into any issues.

Nine days later, the McDonalds are still quarantining in their home with five days left for reasons they aren’t quite clear on.

“It’s very unfair,” Patricia McDonald told CTV News Toronto on Friday.

Both Patricia and Basil received two doses of Moderna — one in February and one in March. They said they submitted their digital vaccination records via ArriveCAN and completed their COVID-19 tests prior to July 7.

Currently, Canadian citizens, permanent residents and eligible foreign nationals who have gone two weeks since a full course of one of the four COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada are meant to be granted exemption from quarantine.

McDonald says her paperwork was approved in Chicago, but not at Toronto Pearson.

“When I showed her the documents, … [the border agent] said, ‘You have to quarantine for 14 days. You can take a test kit and start your quarantine,’” McDonald said.

The next day, McDonald called the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to inquire about the decision made.

“They said that they have to stand by what the officer has decided,” McDonald said, adding that she was advised that she should have attempted to resolve the issue while still at Pearson Airport.

CTV News Toronto reached out to CBSA who responded by stating that they are “unable to provide comment on specific cases and cannot speculate on certain outcomes.”

“Each traveller presents themselves to a border services officer under a different set of circumstances, with varying levels of information available,” Rebecca Purdy, spokesperson for CBSA, told CTV News Toronto Friday.

“There are many factors that come into play when the CBSA is determining if someone is permitted to enter Canada and which instructions are provided to the traveller with regards to their public health obligations.”

McDonald is still unsure why this happened to her and her husband, but wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“It’s very stressful. As soon as you come into Toronto, you have to face this,” she said.

“I just hope it doesn’t have to happen to anyone else.” 

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