Over 1.6 Million Travellers Failed to Use ArriveCAN App at Border: Feds

The federal government announced yesterday the ArriveCAN app and other COVID-19 border measures would be removed, starting October 1, 2022.

The ArriveCAN app was required for travellers arriving in Canada, to input their customs declaration and vaccination status. The government’s website regarding ArriveCAN still states, “If you don’t submit your travel information and proof of vaccination using ArriveCAN you could be fined $5,000.”

According to the National Post, a document shared in the House of Commons last week revealed 1,651,900 travellers “presented themselves at the border for entry into Canada without having submitted their public health information through ArriveCAN prior to arrival,” from the period January 1 to August 31, 2022.

Out of the 38.5 million travellers that have entered Canada since September 11, 2022, those not using ArriveCAN make up roughly 4.3% of travellers.

Here are some of the numbers of people that arrived without setting up the ArriveCAN app:

  • January: 126,674
  • February: 50,175
  • July: 401,175
  • August: 386,445

Back in May, the federal government allowed a one-time exemption for Canadians that arrived without setting up the ArriveCAN app, and also for foreign nationals in July. This information was only learned about in August. This exemption was used by customs agents 308,800 times from May 24 to August 4.

According to a Public Health Agency of Canada Vice President, Jennifer Lutfallah, only 190 tickets have been written for those not complying with ArriveCAN app requirements. She said these particular travellers were “repeat offenders or simply will not comply with giving us a paper submission, which we offer when they are referred over to PHAC, or they just don’t want to comply with the public health measures.”

The federal government’s previous requirement of ArriveCAN was criticized by border towns and other tourist organizations for putting a damper on tourism. Some senior groups said the app was discriminatory since it required a smartphone that was capable of installing the app.

In our own experience with ArriveCAN this summer at a land border, the app took some time to fill out vaccination information and border declarations. It also did not save our info at one point when we were arriving back in Canada. We did see many travellers confused when they were told to download the app to fill out, before they were able to board a ferry to Canada (Coho ferry terminal in Port Angeles, WA). A special seating area with Wi-Fi was provided for tourists to download ArriveCAN.

The ArriveCAN app remains in the App Store’s Top Charts, currently residing in the 10th spot under overall ‘Free Apps’. Apple still has the app listed under the curated section, ‘Plan Your Next Getaway’. In the Travel category, ArriveCAN remains the number one free downloaded app.