Anyone who crosses the border Canadian-American must complete their formalities online with the ArriveCAN application.
Tech and medical experts, along with travelers, continue to call for the ArriveCAN app to be discontinued, even after the federal government fixed a technical glitch that caused some users to place themselves unnecessarily in quarantine.
Even though the issue was fixed last Wednesday, social media platforms are full of messages from passengers complaining that the app is not user-friendly as a whole .
The union representing border services officers estimates that around 30% of people crossing the border have not completed their document in the app, which is causing longer processing times for travelers during the border crossing. what turns out to be a chaotic travel season.
We are so understaffed and spending so much time managing this application that we really don't have time to do our real work, noted Mark Weber, President of the Customs and Immigration Union, during of an interview.
Travelers wait to go through customs at Montreal-Trudeau airport.
The app has also lost its usefulness as a way to protect public health, said Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto.
I really have no idea why we should continue to use it as we currently do. It seems to me like a lot of effort, work and, to be honest, inconvenience for many people, in exchange for very little benefit, he observed during ;a meeting.
Mr. Morris also questioned the point of confirming that participants are vaccinated when we're not even really making sure their vaccinations are up to date, when the federal definition of being fully vaccinated isn't. not include three vaccines or one vaccine in the last, say, five or six months.
Launched in November 2020, the ArriveCAN app aimed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring arrivals were doubly vaccinated and facilitate contact tracing, with the potential bonus of more treatment. fast at the border.
The app was initially only mandatory for air travelers entering Canada, but became a requirement for all border crossings in February 2021. Canadian and international travelers are still required to submit information, including a proof of vaccination, travel dates and contact details within 72 hours of arrival in the country.
The government announced last month that the app would be mandatory until at least September 30, and Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino clarified that it would survive the pandemic as part of a modernization strategy to reduce border bottlenecks.
Meanwhile, random testing, which is communicated through emails associated with ArriveCAN users, resumed at the country's four largest airports last Tuesday, just five weeks after being put on break, June 11.
Bianca Wylie, technology expert and partner at Digital Public, says a lack of oversight and accountability hurts the app — which contains sensitive information — and says using the ArriveCAN platform should be voluntary.
“You are telling people you need to use this app, when we know there are people who are not comfortable with an application like this and may not have the required technology.
—Bianca Wylie, technology expert and partner at Digital Public
The [application] code is closed. We don't know how it works. There is no advisory board, there is no oversight […] there was no audit.
The Quarantine Act allows data collection, but nowhere specifies the use of any particular technology, Wylie said.
The app was designed by the Canada Border Services Agency and five companies that did not have to participate in a tendering process due to pre-existing contracts with the government.
The federal agency said it spent $24.7 million to develop and maintain ArriveCAN, in addition to $2.2 million for advertising.
Following a recent update, passengers arriving at Pearson, Toronto, and Vancouver airport can now complete their declaration forms before landing in Canada – Montreal will do the same at from Thursday – part of Mr. Mendicino's plan to modernize our border and reduce queues.
Marco Mendicino is Federal Minister of Public Security.
According to Transport Canada, travelers who pass through the hundreds of automated kiosks in the customs areas of the four largest airports and who use the app save 40 seconds on a two-minute interaction.
Due to the thousands of travelers passing through Toronto Pearson International Airport using the optional CBSA Advance Reporting feature in ArriveCAN, it can save processing hours each day, the ministry said in a statement earlier this month.
ArriveCAN is successfully used by more than 99% of international air passengers and 89% of ground travelers, according to the Department of Public Safety.
Mark Weber, who heads the union representing border services officers, says these are the success rates after helping the traveler fill it out or have completed filling it out for the traveler.