ArriveCAN App Not Being Filled by Up to 40% of Travellers Arriving at Borders: Union
Mark Weber, President of the Customs and Immigration Union that represents Canada’s border agents, has said that 30-40% of travellers are making their way up to checkpoints with the ArriveCAN app filled out incorrectly or not at all (via CBC).
According to Weber, this is especially the case at the border in Windsor, Ontario. He added that some travellers even refuse to complete the app outright.
The federal government mandated the use of the ArriveCAN app at Canadian borders to screen for COVID-19 and log people’s vaccination status as they enter the country.
In a recent statement, the Public Health Agency of Canada claimed that the ArriveCAN app reduces processing times at the border since officers don’t have to ask questions and input public health information manually.
“The use of ArriveCAN is also an efficient mechanism of verifying vaccine certificates in order to grant exemptions from quarantine. As travel volumes have increased in the spring and early summer of 2022, the use of ArriveCAN has become more important to relieving pressure at the border.”
However, that only works if people actually use the app. In reality, Weber said there are long lines and processing delays at borders because agents have to help travellers correctly fill out their ArriveCAN declarations.
“They have to help them complete it, have them complete it inside the office, which means cars backing up. It is causing delays and it’s adding to an already serious situation with our low staffing levels,” the union head said.
Weber highlighted the same issues last month, arguing the ArriveCAN app had essentially turned border officers into tech support.
“We’re in a situation where we’re kind of not doing our actual work as border service officers anymore. All of our time is being spent on the app,” he added.
“We’re not sure since no more contact tracing is happening why all of this data has to continue to be collected,” Weber said. “I would hope from a public health standpoint there is some long term goal to it.”
There is growing discontent among politicians and the Canadian public over the app, with many calling for it to be axed. The ArriveCAN app also has a penchant for erroneously ordering fully vaccinated individuals to quarantine after crossing the border, which travellers are far from happy about.
What’s more, the ArriveCAN app has been catching flak as of late for harming businesses in border communities as a lot of their non-Canadian customers now find crossing the border a hassle.