The uncertain future of the ArriveCAN app | Coronavirus

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The uncertain future of the app’ ArriveCAN application | Coronavirus

Ottawa's decision to end ArriveCAN comes as travel numbers approach pre-pandemic levels.

As of September 30, the controversial ArriveCAN app , designed to combat the spread of COVID-19 at borders, will no longer be mandatory for travellers. The federal decision comes as the number of international arrivals to Canada is approaching pre-pandemic levels. While it was strongly decried, what will be its future?

Before answering this question, it would be important to take a step back to explain the various adventures of this controversial application, which was at the heart of the health system put in place by the Canadian government to fight against the pandemic.

Launched in November 2020, ArriveCAN was touted as a communication and screening tool to ensure travelers arriving in Canada were doubly vaccinated.

Initially mandatory only for travelers entering the country by air, it became a requirement for all border crossings in February 2021. Canadian and international travelers must still provide information, including proof of vaccination, their travel dates, their contact information and a quarantine plan.

The government says it has spent more than $17 million on its development and maintenance.

But the app has been subject to criticism throughout its existence.

Technology and medical experts as well as travelers and even elected officials have always demanded its abandonment.

In June, some mayors and business owners along the Canada-US border called on the federal government to end the ArriveCAN app, claiming that the ArriveCAN app was terminated. it discouraged Americans from visiting and shopping in Canada.

Later in July, the government said a glitch in the app was incorrectly telling some travelers to self-quarantine when they didn't have to. This error affected approximately 10,200 people.

Kristine D'Arbelles, spokesperson for the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), said she heard some number of travelers complaining about using the app.

As of August, ArriveCAN has a feature for passengers to complete a Service Agency Declaration Form border crossings of Canada (CBSA) before they arrive at customs.

While some weren't comfortable with the technology, others found the app a bit difficult to use, she explained, adding that it was It has happened that a traveler's phone broke down just as he was going through customs.

On the political side, the Conservatives have used criticism of the #x27;application to denounce the policy of the liberals and their management of the pandemic. The one who would become their new leader, Pierre Poilievre, had promised to remove it.

Coincidentally, since the election of Pierre Poilievre as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, the government realized that Canadians were suffering from their inflationary deficits and tax hikes planned. Now, days later, they have also signaled that they will be ending mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app, the Tories argued in a recent statement.

In August, the government announced an additional feature of the app that would allow passengers to complete a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) declaration form before arriving at customs.

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Filling out the form in advance could cut 40 seconds out of every interaction at customs, according to Transport Canada.

But that won't be enough to change the mind of Tom Appleton, who has assured that he won't use the app again once it becomes optional.

I don't understand the benefits. […] There are other ways to do it, Mr. Appleton said, adding that he prefers to use his Nexus card.

David Roughley, on the other hand, said he found the app quite simple, but admits he won't use it once it becomes optional because he wants to protect his information. personal information.

I'm sure the government will do everything they can to protect the data [collected by the app], he said. But I think it's up to each of us to take personal responsibility for our data.

Unlike Mr. Roughley, John Schneider claimed that ;he would happily use the app, adding that he had no problems in the past.

The app is a smooth process and really, in my experience, it should be used more, because it is very effective, he mentioned.

For the spokesperson for the ;Canadian Automobile Association, Ms. D'Arbelles, the app can be useful, but it should remain optional and those who are comfortable can continue to use it.

With information from Darren Major of CBC News

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