Those travellers who have made it extremely clear how much they detest having to fill out the ArriveCAN questionnaire every time they enter Canada — which is a whole lot of them — will be happy to find out that after some earlier mumblings, the federal government is finally in the process of making changes to the app and other legacy public health requirements.
While Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has been quite vague about what’s to come, inside sources have now revealed that ArriveCAN may very well become optional in the near future, while other measures will likely be scrapped altogether.
Even mandatory masking in airports and on planes and trains could soon be a thing of the past.
“Several” unnamed sources confirmed to the Star this week that ministers will soon be meeting to discuss a plan to nix the current requirement that passengers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as the random testing program that was reintroduced at the nation’s four main airports in July.
The move would be very much welcomed not only by residents who have been flooding social media with complaints about the continued use of the app at our borders, but also stakeholders who have long been saying that such pandemic protocols are the direct cause of airport delays, and are also unnecessary at this point.
“While technology certainly has its place, it should be used to help travellers and assist officers, and not hinder them. Unfortunately, by that standard, ArriveCAN doesn’t work,” the union representing customs personnel writes in a note it encourages residents to send to their local politician.
“It’s difficult to use for some, it further complicates the arrival process for travellers, and it’s highly susceptible to network service interruptions and technical errors.”
Local politicians and businesses on both sides of the border have likewise been complaining about the health regulations that are impacting the flow of people and thus tourist dollars between Canada and the U.S.
Then there are those unvaccinated individuals who have long been barred from the country (if international), or have avoided travel due to the fact that they presently face mandatory testing and 14-day quarantine upon return (if Canadian), who would surely rejoice if vaccination rules were amended.
Current border measures are due to be in place until at least September 30, 2022, and will expire if not extended. But, it already seems that some border guards aren’t even checking for the app or enforcing mandates properly anyways.
Meanwhile, one group of Canadians has launched a constitutional challenge regarding the use of the ArriveCAN app due to steep fines for misuse, as well as a glitch that erroneously instructed vaccinated people to quarantine for two weeks.