“You don’t mind doing something if it’s reasonable or makes sense. But this doesn’t seem reasonable: It’s overkill.”

You dont mind doing something if its reasonable or makes sense. But this doesnt seem reasonable: Its overkill.
Andrew Duffy
Jackie Larouche Hartwick and Terry Hartwick of Smiths Falls were fully vaccinated in Florida in January and February.Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia
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A Smiths Falls couple say theyve been harassed by Health Canada officials while quarantining in their home after returning fully vaccinated from Florida.
Terry Hartwick and his wife, Jackie, both retired civil servants, say Health Canada enforcement officers twice showed up at their doorstep during the past two weeks, demanding entry to their home.
That was in addition, Hartwick said, to daily emails and phone calls from federal officials to ensure they were complying with the governments mandatory quarantine policy for returning Canadians.
My wife and I are upset, confused and angered by this constant harassment, Hartwick wrote in a letter to his Member of Parliament, Conservative Michael Barrett.
In an interview, Hartwick said he couldnt understand why the government was pouring so much effort into testing and monitoring the health of people who were fully vaccinated. Its insane, the money theyre spending on this, he said.
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In order to return from Florida, Hartwick and his wife had to produce negative COVID test results within 72 hours of reaching the Canadian border, then have another test after they crossed the border and a third test during the middle of their 14-day quarantine period.
Hartwick said he refused to let the quarantine enforcement officers into his house, leading the second one to take photos of him and his home.
You dont mind doing something if its reasonable or makes sense, he said. But this doesnt seem reasonable: Its overkill.
Michael MacKenzie, executive director of the Canadian Snowbirds Association, said he had heard similar complaints from others migrating back from Florida this spring.
The frustration is that unvaccinated and fully vaccinated travellers are being treated the same way, MacKenzie said. These people are making Canada safer by coming back fully vaccinated.
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He said Canadian policy on the issue seemed more influenced by politics than science.
In the United States, fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to quarantine or self-isolate when they return to the country, according to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
A spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada said Friday that all travellers entering this country were subject to compliance verification activities, including phone calls and visits from screening officers, regardless of whether or not theyve been fully vaccinated.
The unannounced visits can occur at any point during the 14-day quarantine period.
Until there is concrete evidence that vaccination can prevent transmission of COVID-19, everyone, including vaccinated travellers, must follow public health measures and the mandatory quarantine and testing requirements, Tammy Jarbeau said.
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The public health agency reaches more than 6,500 travellers by phone and visits more than 3,000 returned travellers each day, she said. The vast majority of travellers 95 per cent of them are following the quarantine requirements, Jarbeau said.
Earlier this week, a federal advisory panel on COVID-19 testing and screening recommended that fully vaccinated travellers be tested on arrival in Canada, but not forced to quarantine unless they test positive.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu has said the government will consider the panels recommendations, but remain prudent in its approach.
Hartwick said the expert panels new recommendations made sense.
Jackie Larouche Hartwick and Terry Hartwick of Smiths Falls were fully vaccinated in Florida in January and February.Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia
Hartwick and his wife own a second home in Bonita Springs and flew to southwest Florida in November; they received their first vaccine on Jan. 4 and their second one a month later. Anyone with a Florida address could be vaccinated when the program first rolled out in January.
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Florida has experienced more deaths from COVID-19 than Canada. The state of 21.5 million people has seen more than 36,000 die from the virus, while Canada, with a population of 37.5 million, has had 25,411 COVID-19 deaths.
Like many returning snowbirds, the Hartwicks flew to a border airport, Syracuse. They arranged to cross the border by land on May 10 so as to avoid the need to quarantine in a hotel.
Both Hartwick and his wife have vaccination cards, but the Canadian customs agent was not interested in them. He said they didnt mean anything, Hartwick said.
Their quarantine ended May 24.
Hartwick has registered his vaccinations with his family doctor, but theres no way yet to register them with the Ontario government. Quebec has made it possible for snowbirds to register their vaccinations.
MacKenzie noted that most provincial restart plans were tied to vaccination rates, yet hundreds of thousands of Canadians vaccinated in the U.S. were not being counted.
Thats bad for everybody, he said.
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