ArriveCAN Mobile App to Get Declaration Feature to Lower Wait Times, Say Feds

CleanShot 2022 06 27 at 09 04 11

With a surge in travel after the end of most COVID-19 mandates, Canada’s airports and passport offices are busier than ever before, with the federal government unable to keep up with the increased demand.

Late last week, the Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, along with senior officials from Transport Canada, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), NAV CANADA, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), came together with the CEOs of Air Canada, WestJet and Toronto Pearson, Montréal Trudeau, Calgary and Vancouver airports, to tackle the increasingly long and frustrating wait times.

One effort announced by the federal government was upcoming updates to the ArriveCAN mobile app, aimed at making it faster and easier to use for travellers.

Starting on June 28, the ArriveCAN mobile app will gain the Advance CBSA Declaration optional feature, previously only available on the web version of ArriveCAN.

“Using the Advance CBSA Declaration feature within ArriveCAN lets you make a customs and immigration declaration up to 72 hours in advance of flying into Canada, giving you a faster border experience. Submitting your declaration in advance will save you time when you arrive at the airport,” explains the CBSA on the feature.

This Advance CBSA Declaration for customs and immigration information is optional and is only available to air travellers entering Canada at:

  • Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) Terminals 1 and 3
  • Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

The feds also reiterated the “saved traveller” feature in the ArriveCAN app, which can save travel documents and proof of vaccination to be reused on future trips. This data is pre-populated in the ArriveCAN app whenever a submission is made, saving time.

In addition to the one feature added to the ArriveCAN mobile app, the federal government detailed it is also hiring more CATSA screening officers nationwide, while also leveraging Student Border Services Officers, plus more declaration kiosks at Toronto Pearson International Airport customs hall areas, as just some ways to lower travel wait times.

Border mayors and tourism officials have called for the app to be axed now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased.

Earlier this month, the union representing Canadian border agents said the ArriveCAN app itself is resulting in border delays, as customs agents spend more time offering technical help for the convoluted app.

“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.