Travelers should not have received government messages telling them to quarantine upon arrival when ;they were exempt.
The ArriveCAN app also makes it possible to save travel documents and proof of vaccinations in order to reuse them during other trips.
Essential for entering Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic. 19, the ArriveCAN app erroneously informed up to 3% of travelers that they were required to quarantine when they were exempt.
After dozens of online complaints exposing the computer bug, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has finally admitted to having identified a technical problem with the application which can produce an erroneous notification. telling people to self-quarantine, Audrey Champoux, press secretary to Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino, confirmed in an email.
The government's admission comes after a CBC News investigation of dozens of complaints on social media from travelers who wrote that they entered Canada without a problem and later received a surprise alert about a mandatory quarantine.
The problem appears to be related to Apple devices, and up to 3% of ArriveCAN users have been affected, Champoux added, assuring that the CBSA has found a solution, which will be implemented by the end of the week.
These failures add to growing pressure on Ottawa to remove the COVID-19 screening tool, including from the tourist community, which accuses it of complicating the traveler's experience.
The ArriveCAN government app has been used since 2020 to transmit mandatory travel and public health information (including vaccination status) upon entering the country.
Some users of the application, confused on receiving an erroneous message detailing the instructions to follow to respect the quarantine, complied anyway for fear of breaking the rules.
“There's the threatening language of $5,000 fines, plus potentially having the police dispatched to your home.
— Don Bennett, a traveler whose wife received said message
Don Bennett's wife received quarantine instructions via email despite his vaccination status which exempted him. Karin Bennett has decided to end her quarantine after learning from CBC that the government did send incorrect instructions to some travellers.
Since its introduction in 2020, the app has generated multiple complaints about the red tape it entails, in addition to malfunctions and obstacles faced by travelers experiencing technical difficulties.
In the midst of the travel resumption season, many in the tourism industry are calling on the government to end the mandatory use of the app. However, Ottawa does not seem to be moving towards a relaxation of health restrictions for travel, and has even recently announced the restoration of random screening tests for air travelers.
Anything that complicates the travel process negatively impacts the return of people who travel again, observes Beth Potter, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
Travelers wait to go through customs at Montreal-Trudeau airport.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) counters that the pandemic is not over and that the ArriveCAN application remains a necessary tool and effective in keeping Canadians safe.
“The app improves border processing times by reducing the time it takes for border services officers to interview travelers and manually enter their public health information.
— Tammy Jarbeau, PHAC Spokesperson
However, the union representing CBSA officers argues that the application can add to congestion at airports as agents sometimes have to spend time helping travelers fill it.
Some people don't know there is a application, others just have a hard time filling it out. We've seen people who don't have the technology to fill it, concludes Mark Weber, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union.
Based on information from Sophia Harris, CBC