ArriveCan glitches spark call for review and removal in Windsor


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Problems, wrong quarantine warnings and many people who just don’t know how to use the app: As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, Windsor residents and officials demand big changes to the ArriveCan app .

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Windsorite Jeremy McLellan recently crossed the border twice. While he and his wife are vaccinated, his four-year-old twin daughters were not eligible at the time – which he says sparked a cascade of emails ordering his family to self-quarantine, even though she was exempt.

“I’m a little worried because we live in a border town,” McLellan said. “We should be able to cross freely.”

Fifteen days later, when his family crossed paths again and used his wife’s ArriveCan account, the family received the same notifications.

McLellan said he consulted with border officials and Public Health Canada in an effort to “cover his bases” and ensure his family did not need to quarantine, which was confirmed. McLellan said he requested a brief in writing, but more than a month later said he hadn’t heard back.

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But he said the experience was concerning given the possibility of hefty fines.

“The fines are astronomical and you’re basically at their mercy once you’re at the border,” McLellan said. “I don’t want to be reported for any reason.”

ArriveCan was introduced in April 2020 to ensure people entering the country at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic followed federal quarantine rules and its use was made mandatory later that year. Today, the app is used to check vaccination status as well as collect travel and public health information in a bid, officials said, to streamline border crossings during the pandemic.

But recently publicized issues, including ones similar to those McLellan’s family has experienced, have prompted calls for change.

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“We’ve seen before in a border town when there’s an electronics failure at the border, trucks line up for miles,” said MP Brian Masse (NDP — Windsor West). “With this application, we are just introducing another variable.

“We now qualify as a hostile destination. We just have to get rid of it now.

Masse said he believed vaccination status could be checked at the border instead of using the app, adding that the app does not prevent someone from getting COVID-19 after completing the declaration. of application.

“It no longer makes sense, for public safety or practical application,” Masse said. “It’s really hurting tourism and family visits.”

Mark Weber, president of the Customs and Immigration Union, said its members find that between 30 and 40 per cent of people at border crossings have not completed their ArriveCan information.

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“The reality is that a lot of our agents’ time is just spent helping people complete the application, because that’s a requirement we have to meet,” Weber recently told The Star.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens was unavailable for comment but recently joined a coalition of border town mayors calling for the app to be stopped at land border crossings, citing its impact on residents and tourism .

MP Irek Kusmierczyk (Liberal—Windsor-Tecumseh) said he told his party’s ministers about residents’ concerns about the app and its impact on border towns, including in a recent conversation with the team from the Ministry of Public Safety and with Transport Minister Omar Alghabra during a recent visit to Windsor.

“Older people and others who don’t have access, for example, to this technology, or are unable to use it,” Kusmierczyk said. “We know this presents an additional challenge for them.”

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Kusmierczyk said he thinks it’s important to remember the pandemic isn’t over and the priority is public safety – but the app and issues with its use are being investigated, a he declared.

“My feeling is that the concerns we have shared with ministers, they understand that there are challenges,” Kusmierczyk said. “They understand that it impacts border communities like ours.”

The federal government indicated last month that COVID-19 border measures, including the use of ArriveCan, will remain in place until at least September 30.

Kusmierczyk also said that for most residents, ArriveCan is helping to ease the border crossing process with public health restrictions in place by allowing people to fill out information ahead of time instead of answering questions at the border. .

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But the glitches that wrongly order people to self-quarantine are “absolutely unacceptable”, he added.

“The ArriveCan app, this process, needs to be improved at the border because it presents significant challenges for border communities like ours.”

A CBSA spokesperson said that as of July 20, there have been nearly 23 million successful ArriveCan submissions and according to CBSA figures, the app has approximately 1.3 million users each week. The agency said the app was used by 90% of people at land borders last week.

“While usage of ArriveCAN remains high, the Government of Canada recognizes that some Canadians may not be prepared or aware of the requirement to use the app,” a statement read.

  1. The ArriveCAN app, still required when entering Canada, is pictured Friday March 25, 2022.

    CBSA union president calls for review of ArriveCan app

  2. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens displays the ArriveCAN app on his cellphone Wednesday, June 15, 2022. Dilkens and other border mayors are calling on the federal government to eliminate the app and vaccine requirements to cross borders land borders to Canada.

    Border mayors call on the federal government to eliminate the ArriveCAN app

  3. The login screen on the ArriveCAN app on a smartphone, March 2022.

    ArriveCAN app needs to go, says Masse, MP for Windsor West

To that end, border services officers are authorized to grant one-time exemptions to ArriveCan to make the process easier for people who may not have been aware of the application, the agency said.

“All travelers who benefit from this one-time exemption will receive information explaining their ArriveCAN obligations for future crossings,” an agency official said in a statement. The exemption has been used around 200,000 times since its introduction in May.


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