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Public health agency investigating quarantine sexual assault allegations


OTTAWA — The Public Health Agency of Canada is launching an investigation and reviewing its practices after two returning travellers were allegedly sexually assaulted during their mandatory quarantine periods.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Patty Hajdu said allegations of assaults reported in the media this week are “really concerning.”

Cole Davidson said the public health agency would review its own procedures as well as those of its service providers to ensure the safety of travellers returning to the country.

The response follows reports that a quarantine screening officer as well as a returning traveller have been charged in separate sexual assault cases that allegedly occurred last week.

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The Opposition Conservatives immediately demanded a suspension of the obligation for travellers to quarantine in hotels until better safety measures are in place, as well as an end to the use of security guards, who they say haven’t been properly evaluated, to check on people quarantining at home.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says he doesn’t necessarily believe the quarantine measures need to be suspended, but he wants to see improvements to ensure the safety of travellers under quarantine.

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