Frustrated Regina travelers searching for answers using the ArriveCAN app

Traveling can be stressful, and during the COVID-19 pandemic it can be confusing at times — especially when more steps are added to your travel to-do list, like filling out information in ArriveCAN for Canadian travelers.

But even then, there are some who are breaking the technological hurdles of traveling during a pandemic.

Regina residents Don Csada and his wife are just some of the travelers frustrated by the ArriveCAN website.

ArriveCAN, available either online or via a downloadable mobile app, requires Canadians traveling abroad to provide mandatory travel and health information before and after entering Canada. The Government of Canada says ArriveCAN “not only keeps travelers safe, but is part of our ongoing effort to modernize cross-border travel.”

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For the Csadas, this has created a problem as they don’t have mobile data for their phones and can only access the internet through their home computer.

“It’s just very frustrating and you don’t get any answers,” Csada said in an interview with Global News.

Csada said he and his wife Caron booked flights to Mexico this December prior to the implementation of the ArriveCAN app.

While they may have support from their family to help them fill out the required information before flying to Mexico, they will not have a cell phone or anywhere to access the internet at their destination.

Csada explained that this poses a problem for them because they have to fill out the prompts again at least 72 hours before their flight home.

“There’s no such thing as accessibility, so we’re trying to figure out that there has to be another way to get back to Canada,” Csada said. “If we can’t use the app, how do we get back home?” There has to be an alternative for that when people don’t have the ability to use technology.”

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With their trip a few months away, Csada said he started making calls to see what options were available to him.

He mentioned calling the ArriveCAN support number twice. The end result was hung up on both calls.

Csada said he has also reached out to politicians at different levels and other organizations hoping to find a solution – but to no avail.

Now the couple is wondering what to do next – whether to stick with their winter travel plans or cancel their trip.

Csada said he hopes to raise awareness of this issue, which affects seniors and others who need accessibility.

“It’s not just my story. There are other seniors who will go through this once they figure out what they need to do to return to Canada in the fall.”

ArriveCAN exceptions

The Government of Canada says that traveler information collected with ArriveCAN is of higher quality and generally more accurate than information collected by other means, such as B. paper forms are collected.

In a statement to Global News by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) spokesman, the government notes that processing times for travelers without ArriveCAN would be “significantly” increased as public health functions would have to be manually filled out for each traveler by CBSA officials at the port of entry.

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“ArriveCAN is the fastest, easiest and most secure way for travelers to demonstrate compliance with public health requirements and is an essential tool for the CBSA to assess traveler compliance and the handling of travelers at the border accelerate,” the statement said.

The Government states that it recognizes that some Canadians may not be prepared or aware of the requirement to use ArriveCAN.

As a result, the government introduced a new measure to address this issue.

“As of May 24, border agents at land ports of entry may apply for a one-time exemption for fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act entering Canada who have not completed their ArriveCAN filing,” reads in the explanation further.

“This exemption allows the CBSA to be more flexible for travelers with no history of violations who may have been unaware of the requirement to submit their mandatory health information via ArriveCAN and means the traveler arriving by land is unaffected quarantine, test and fine only once. All travelers granted this one-time exception will be provided with information explaining their obligations in relation to ArriveCAN for future border crossings.”

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CBSA adds that after the one-time exemption, fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act who do not submit their information through ArriveCAN will be subject to quarantine and testing, and may also face fines.

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“More than 300,000 travelers have made use of this relief mechanism in land transport since it was introduced.”

However, the Canadian government website notes that some travelers may be exempt from the ArriveCAN requirement due to an accessibility need.

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There are concerns about the ArriveCAN app potentially violating constitutional rights

There are concerns about the ArriveCAN app potentially violating constitutional rights

The website says people unable to use ArriveCAN due to accessibility requirements will not be denied boarding or entry into Canada. Those exempt must be prepared to provide pre-entry test results, if required, proof of vaccinations and travel documents.

“All arriving travelers to Canada must use ArriveCAN to submit their information. In some limited exceptions you can use an alternative to ArriveCAN. You can provide your information orally at the border or by filling out a paper form,” the ArriveCAN website reads.

These exceptions include those with cognitive or physical impairments, inadequate infrastructure, service disruptions, or natural disasters such as ArriveCAN outages, asylum seekers, and resettled refugees.

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According to the statement, more than 25.5 million submissions were sent via ArriveCAN as of August 10, 2022.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. Frustrated Regina travelers searching for answers using the ArriveCAN app


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