Jessica Faraone
© JACK BOLAND /TORONTO SUNToronto nurse Jessica Faraone is pictured on the balcony of her condo on March 7., 2021. She is in quarantine at home after returning last week from Tanzania where she volunteered at a medical clinic. Photographer Jack Boland took this picture from the ground while Faraone stood on her fourth-floor balcony.
Jessica Faraone is the nurse who attracted a firestorm of criticism when she arrived at Pearson and refused to wear a mask, take a COVID test or go to a hotel.

On Sunday, Faraone was invited to tell her side of the story.

Some background: Faraone, 29, has been a nurse for 10 years. She has worked in long-term care (LTC) homes and hospitals and has worked in surgery, plastic surgery, and as a recovery room nurse.

Most recently she worked in a hospital's acute brain injury and stroke ward.

She wears full personal protective equipment on the job and is not a COVID denier. However, Faraone is against masking children in school and doesn't see the point of public masking in general.

Before returning home from Tanzania, Faraone had two COVID tests that were negative before she was permitted to board the flight.

"I did not think it was sensible or reasonable to get another invasive test or go to a government-approved hotel instead of my own home," she said.

In Tanzania, Faraone lived among the general population and with zero COVID health protocols — no masking or distancing required. The issues where she was were malaria, dehydration, typhoid, parasitic infections and wounds; COVID is in the country, but she didn't see any cases.

She and two other medical volunteers started a GoFundMe campaign to help the hospital where they worked.

What were you expecting on the way home to Pearson?
I started to get anxiety about having to go back home and living a completely different way (a restricted mask-wearing way) than I was used to, being free in Tanzania. After seeing (prominent GTA anti-lockdown advocate) Chris Sky's video of not having to do a COVID test, or wear a mask, and him shedding light on the fact that many of these measures go against our rights as Canadians, I started to look more into the Charter of Rights and the guidelines of the Quarantine Act. Chris Sky took a stand for Canada along with many other health-care workers and Canadian doctors; it was time I took a stand for what I actually believed in.

I'm not saying COVID isn't real. I'm disputing the measures the government is putting in place for a virus that has a 98% survival rate. The interventions should not be worse than the actual virus itself. I have worked in the hospitals and more than ever I'm seeing suicide, depression, strokes, heart attacks, addiction issues. Masking people and children, oppressing health-care workers' opinions that go against the grain, socially isolating people, and instilling fear into Canadians ... is not how we solve this problem.

If we really care about the vulnerable people dying from this, we need to fix our LTC system.
Nurse Jessica Faraone
© Instagram /Toronto SunNurse Jessica Faraone went to Tanzania to volunteer at a medical clinic.
Did you think you'd be allowed to just leave the airport?
I knew I would be able to leave the airport because of my Canadian Charter of Rights. Border security asked me what hotel I booked, I replied, "None, I'm going to my perfectly good home as this violates my Charter of Rights, including taking another invasive COVID test (this violates section 14.1 of the Quarantine Act)."

The border officer ...started yelling at me because I was telling other Canadian citizens that they could go to their homes and not stay in a hotel or do another COVID test. He got angrier and wanted to silence me from telling people their rights as Canadians. It felt like I was in a bad horror movie. I'm a frontline worker, I'm a Canadian citizen and above all, I'm a human being, and I'm here being muzzled at the airport for telling people their rights. Once the police officers and public health nurses got wind that I'm a registered nurse, they started shaming me, saying, "I hope you lose your job," and making me feel like crap for having an opinion that did not line up with the storyline of the government or what they were trying to do at the airport.
Are you concerned about being disciplined by the College of Nurses of Ontario?
I have yet to hear from them. I would be genuinely disgusted if my license got taken away for having an opinion and exercising my rights ... The people who know me know I'm a damn good nurse, I genuinely care about the well-being of, and have compassion for, those in my care. That is why I'm speaking up.