Quarantine and the Law: The 2003 SARS Experience in Canada (A New Disease Calls on Old Public Health Tools)

Nola Rles
unpublished
The authority to quarantine individuals was tested by the 2003 global outbreak of SARS. Quarantine was used during that lime as a public health intervention tool to attempt to control the disease in Toronto. The outbreak put the public health preparedness of the Ontario legal system to the test. This article examines the legal issues related to the use of quarantine as a tool to control infectious disease outbreaks using the Ontario SARS epidemic as a case study. The authorfirst analyzes the
more » ... rst analyzes the laws authorizing public health officials to use quarantine and then identifies the legislative gaps that SARS exposed in these laws The article then looks at the current legislative reform efforts to create a more prepared legal environment in the event ofanotherpublic health crisis such as SARS. In addition, the impact ofquarantine on an individual and his or herfamily, including social and economic impacts, as well as its effect on the health care system is discussed. Finally, the legal limits on the use of quarantine arefurther examined. The author concludes that, because it is likely that a novel infectious agent such as SARS will surface in the future, the public health authorities must be vigilant by ensuringpublic health legalpreparedness. L 'auloriti de metlre des personnel en quarantaine a Hi testee lors de I epidemic de SRAS en 2003. La mise en quarantaine a ili utilisee en tant qu oulil d 'intervention de same publique dans le but d essayer de controler la maladie a Toronto. L 'ipidimie a mis a I 'ipreuve le degre de preparation en santi publique du systemejuridique de I 'Ontario. L 'article porte sur les questions juridiques relatives a la mise en quarantaine en tant qu "outil de controle d 'ipidimies de maladies infeclieuses ulilisant I 'ipidimie de SRAS de I 'Ontario en lam qu 'etude de cas. L 'auteur commence par analyser les lois autorisam les reprisentants de la sanli publique a avoir recours a la mise en quarantaine. puis determine tes lacunes de ces lois que le SRAS a fait ressortir. L 'article se penche ensuite sur I'effort de riforme legislative actuel visanl a crier un milieu juridique mieux prepari dans le cas d'une autre crise de same publique comme celle du SRAS. En outre. I 'impact de la mise en quarantaine sur une personne et safamille. y compris les effels sociaux et economiques en plus des effets sur le systeme de same publique. y est discuti. Enfin. les limites legates sur le recours a la mise en quarantaine y sont examinees. L'auteur conclul que. comme un nouvel agent infeclieux comme le SRAS surgira sans dome a I'avenir. les autorttes en matiire de same publique doivenl itre vigilantes en s assuranl que le systeme juridique de la santi publique esl pret.
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