It looks like the Canadian government may finally be reconsidering ArriveCAN

The state of airports like Toronto's Pearson International appear to finally be improving for passengers, albeit slowly, but there are still certain snags in the travel process that people are imploring stakeholders to fix — one of them being the ArriveCAN app, which people continue to demand the federal government get rid of altogether.

First launched in 2020, the screening measure continues to be necessary for anyone entering Canada, and requires travellers to fill out information about their mode of arrival, COVID vaccination status, ID and more. (People can now also fill out customs declarations in advance through the app.)

The process takes around five minutes for those who are tech-savvy, familiar with the app and have their documents and details on-hand, but has proven to be a longer, more frustrating step for older travellers and other groups, and that's when it's not glitching the heck out.

It is also one that many are deeming unnecessary at this point in time, given that virtually all other public health restrictions, even mandatory quarantine periods when sick with COVID-19, have been dropped.

Even the authority that runs Toronto's Pearson airport has asked that such "legacy public health requirements" be streamlined or nixed completely, as they are directly causing "bottlenecks and very lengthy delays in border processing" at travel hubs.

Amid all of the complaints, it appears that Ottawa is indeed listening and considering making some amendments to ArriveCAN — perhaps indeed doing away with it.

"I've spoken to many border communities, including here in Windsor, who are sharing the feedback they're hearing from the community, from local stakeholders. We're listening," Canadian Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra told reporters during a press conference in the Southern Ontario city on Tuesday. 

"We want to make sure we work with them in enhancing and improving the flow of people, especially at land borders."

He added that any improvements will be "guided by the information we have and the sentiment we want to improve efficiency and travellers' experience," and that though he doesn't have a formal announcement to make on the topic just yet, "I can tell you we're sensitive to the needs of the community and we're working to make sure we address these issues."

This is a notable departure from how he's talked about ArriveCAN previously, perhaps due to a day spent in Windsor with the region's MP, Irek Kusmierczyk, whose constituents have been vocally opposing the app, at least based on their tweets to him.

He said at the same presser that he's faced a glut of concerns calling the app a "barrier" and a "frustrating challenge," while the MP of neighbouring Niagara told Alghabra that the app "disincentivizes travel to this country" this week.

ArriveCAN and other measures presently employed at the nation's border are being reasessed and potentially amended later this month.

Lead photo by

Kris Pangilinan

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