ArriveCAN App Declaration Feature Expanding to 7 More Airports

In late June, the ArriveCAN mobile app gained the Advance CBSA Declaration optional feature that was previously only available on the web. Now, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says the feature is expanding to more airports across the country, “to deliver a better and faster experience for travellers without compromising the safety and security of Canada’s border.”

The Advance CBSA Declaration optional feature lets travellers submit their customs and immigration deflation up to 72 hours ahead of their arrival in Canada, within the ArriveCAN app. Currently, the feature is limited to those landing at Toronto Pearson, Montreal-Trudeau, and Vancouver international airports.

But now “in the coming months”, this feature will be expanding to international airports in Winnipeg, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Billy Bishop, Ottawa and Quebec City.

CBSA says when used, the advance declaration feature reduces time and results in shorter line-ups for travellers.

Data shown from early usage of the feature at Toronto Pearson and Vancouver airports shows the option feature cuts time spent at a customs kiosk by “roughly one third”, says CBSA, noting the app feature “has the potential to save hours in wait time.”

Canada’s airports have been backlogged due to the surge in travel as COVID-19 restrictions have been eased. Toronto’s Pearson International Airport has been criticized for its long wait times, cancelled flights and lost luggage (pack that AirTag in your luggage, yo). But today, 12 new eGates launched at the airport’s Terminal 1, allowing for those who have completed the Advance CBSA Declaration feature to submit their information and verify their identities at these electronic gates, in an effort to reduce wait times.

The union for border agents says the ArriveCAN app has been a source of travel delays, as customs officers spend more time as tech support. “As far as border officers are concerned, the last few months have shown that ArriveCAN neither facilitates cross-border travel nor does it improve operational efficiency. In fact, it does exactly the opposite,” said Customs and Immigration Union president Mark Weber, speaking to a House of Commons committee in June.

Last month, MP Chris Bittle downplayed ArriveCAN app concerns, saying, “It does lead to problems because when people show up at the border without the app, it leads to longer backlogs,” and adding, “I imagine higher gas prices are having a much bigger impact on the tourist industry than the ArriveCAN app. Tourists aren’t idiots coming in. They can manage it.”