COVID-19 in Canada: The Division of Powers Over Quarantine and Borders
Revised and updated version forthcoming in 2020-2021 in the National Journal of Constitutional Law
35 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 26, 2020
The Canadian Constitution rests on the principle of federalism and its underlying principles of coordinated interpretation, balance between the powers of Parliament and those of the provinces, and the conciliation of diversity with unity. These principles continue to apply in a time of health emergency, like the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis raised some new issues regarding which order of governments, or both, can regulate and make decisions over matters such like quarantine and interprovincial borders. We will argue that, according to the principles of federalism, those powers must be shared between the federal and the provinces based on their international, interprovincial and local impacts. Our analysis will essentially be prospective since there is no Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on those specific head of powers.
Keywords: Covid-19; Coronavirus; Federalism; Quarantine; Borders; Health; National Emergency; Provinces; Canada.
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