Thunder Bay

Public Health Agency of Canada considers quarantine centres for Pigeon River, Fort Frances

The Public Health Agency of Canada wants to see if the private sector is interested in potentially operating more federal quarantine and isolation sites, including in northwestern Ontario.
A number of Ports of Entry between the Canada-US border could have quarantine centres located nearby, according to a request for information from the Public Health Agency of Canada. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The Public Health Agency of Canada is seeking input from the private sector in plans to create new federal quarantine and isolation sites across the country, including two in northwestern Ontario.

The Government of Canada, on its procurement website, said it is looking for a third party to provide housing and care for people who are impacted by COVID-19 and federal quarantine regulations.

"In anticipation of a possible continued need for quarantine sites over the next 1 to 2 years given the COVID 19 pandemic, PHAC (Public Health Agency Canada) is considering having a third-party service provider provide and manage the existing sites and all of the related services on its behalf," the document stated.

The information requested by the government does not mean it will move ahead with the isolation centres, it said, but it will use it to determine if having the private sector manage a quarantine location is a viable strategy.

The services that may be required include lodging, food, transportation, security, health supports as well as data collection and reporting.

Two points of entry in northwestern Ontario are identified as potential locations for expanded quarantine centres, which are the Pigeon River port of entry, and the Fort Frances port of entry. The quarantine centres could be located as far away as Winnipeg or Thunder Bay for these particular entry points.

Other locations considered for the centres are Sault Ste. Marie, Quebec City, Saskatoon, Charlottetown, Windsor, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Iqaluit, and Yellowknife.

Quarantine centres already exist in 11 cities, including Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

The request for information will remain open until Monday, October 19.

If the government chooses to go forward with the concept, an interested business could be awarded a contract by March 2021.


Jeff Walters


Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.