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Ontario judge mistakenly assigned cases while abroad in Turks and Caicos, court says

Last Updated Feb 17, 2021 at 2:05 pm EDT

The court says a regional senior justice had cleared the judge to travel for personal reasons. Lacey Williams

Despite residents being told to stay home during the pandemic, an Ontario Superior Court judge has reportedly been presiding over Toronto-area court cases from the Caribbean.

The CBC is reporting the judge, who has not been identified, left Canada for Turks and Caicos on Jan. 9 and until recently was conducting court cases at a beachfront resort.

The Office of Superior Court Chief Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz says the situation that led the judge to travel involves “very specific personal and confidential circumstances and based upon these was deemed not inappropriate.”

The CBC says the judge was asked to stop working from the Caribbean on Feb. 8, shortly after receiving the statement from Morawetz’s office.

The judge is expected to remain in the Caribbean until the end of this month.

It is unclear if other judges have travelled and conducted court hearings from abroad — a number of Canadian politicians admitted to leaving the country over the December holiday period, even as their constituents adhered to public health guidance meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 and hunkered down at home.

International travellers returning to Canada will begin mandatory hotel quarantine measures on Feb. 22.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that air travellers will need to take a COVID-19 test at their own expense and subsequently pay for a 72-hour stay at a hotel approved by government officials.

Land travellers will also be required to take COVID-19 tests upon arrival. Certain border points will be able to test on-site; if that’s not an option, travellers will be given a kit to take home. They’ll have to do a follow-up test 10 days later.

Canada has since suspended all flights to the Caribbean and Mexico until April 30.

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