Ottawa Says ArriveCAN to be Permanent Feature of “Modernized” Border

ArriveCAN app, Canadian flagStep away from the ‘delete’ button. Canada’s ArriveCAN app appears to be here to stay.

Canada’s public safety minister revealed that the app for arrivals to Canada’s borders is set to outlive its pandemic origins.

During a tour of a customs checkpoint in Windsor, ON Tuesday, 28JUN, Marco Mendocino gave the federal government’s first indication that the app that many love to hate will become a permanent part of Canada’s border process. 

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“ArriveCan was originally created for the purposes of COVID-19 but it has technological capacity beyond that to really shrink the amount of time that is required when you’re getting screened at the border,” he told reporters covering his visit.

The app was introduced in APR 2020 during the pandemic, as Canada’s answer to the demand for a ‘digital vaccine passport.’ It facilitated travellers submitting their health and vaccination credentials, as well as pandemic requirements like a quarantine plan, to border officials prior to arrival.

The use of ArriveCAN remains in place, although, as Open Jaw reported Monday, 27JUN, Ottawa has responded to criticisms of the digital tool and made some ‘improvements.’  They include a provision that allows arrivals at YVR and YYZ to submit their CBSA customs declaration through the app in advance. In addition, a new, ‘saved traveller’ feature allows frequent travellers to save time filling out all required fields, as permanent information will be saved.

“Part of our Ongoing Efforts to Modernize our Border”

“So that’s the vision is really to utilize the platform to decrease the amount of time,” Mendocino told reporters, “so CBSA officers can really focus on the problem areas, like if you’re trying to smuggle a gun or trying to smuggle drugs.”

That ‘vision’ appears to already be locked in as part of the federal government’s approach to Canada’s borders moving forward.

According to the government of Canada website, ArriveCAN  ‘is not only keeping travellers safe, but is part of our ongoing efforts to modernize our border.’

The public safety minister acknowledged the app’s unpopularity in some quarters, particularly among Canada’s bordertowns, which say ArriveCAN is a barrier to cross-border travel and trade.

Mendocino reiterated the same message from other federal ministers: that the government is working on improving the app – and added he is “responsive” to critical border mayors and other stakeholders.

Some of those stakeholders may have already accepted  – or even approved – ArriveCAN as a permanent part of travel into Canada.

Canada’s travel industry Roundtable on 29JUN issued a statement demanding Ottawa drop all remaining pandemic-era travel restrictions. But, as Open Jaw reported, while it addressed the ArriveCAN app, it did not ask for the app to be ‘scrapped,’ like bordertown mayors.

Instead, the Roundtable says it wants to see the app “streamlined,” and used “solely as a pre-entry declaration system to digitize border processing.”

Lynn Elmhirst

With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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