Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has announced plans to expand the ArriveCAN feature, which enables incoming travellers to declare their arrival information in advance to additional airports across the country.
The new Advance CBSA Declaration feature offers passengers a choice to give their customs and immigration details up to 72 hours before reaching Canada.
This is expected to reduce wait times for passengers at Canada’s airports, which have been seeing massive disruption because of labour shortage. The problem has intensified due to an uptick in travel demand after the relaxation of Covid-19-induced restrictions.
Currently, international passengers landing at Toronto Pearson (YYZ), Montreal-Trudeau (YUL) and Vancouver (YVR) international airports can access the new optional feature.
CBSA plans to extend the feature to inbound passengers at Winnipeg (YWG), Halifax (YHZ), Calgary (YYC), Edmonton (YEG), Billy Bishop Toronto City (YTZ), Ottawa (YOW) and Quebec City (YQB) international airports over the next few months.
In a statement, the agency said: “By submitting their customs and immigration information in advance, travellers spend less time at primary inspection kiosks (PIK) or eGates when they arrive at the airport, resulting in shorter line-ups in arrivals halls.
“Early usage data from Toronto Pearson and Vancouver airports indicates that using the optional Advance CBSA Declaration cuts the amount of time a traveller spends at a kiosk by roughly one-third.
“With the thousands of travellers arriving in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal airports each day, the use of the optional Advance CBSA Declaration has the potential to save hours in wait time.”
Advance CBSA Declaration forms part of the Traveller Modernization programme, another CBSA initiative that is anticipated to be launched in the coming years.
As part of the modernisation, the agency plans to incorporate digital solutions and tools for both passengers and border services staff.
These solutions will support more contactless and faster border processing, minimise disease transmission potential and support the country’s long-term safety, security and integrity initiatives at its borders.
CBSA further noted that providing travel and public health data through ArriveCAN will continue to be compulsory.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Government has been facing mounting pressure to end the use of the ArriveCan app amid travel chaos across major airports.
The government is also being pressured to employ extra staff at airports to reduce disruption.