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July 5, 2022

Canada faces calls to scrap ArriveCan app to reduce travel disruption

A shortage of front-line staff and dependence on technology are also said to have contributed to the situation.

The government of Canada is reportedly under growing pressure to withdraw its ArriveCan app and deploy additional employees at key airports across the country to cut flight delays and cancellations as well as other travel disruptions.

The app was designed to allow travellers to declare their Covid-19 vaccination status as well as a quarantine plan if they are affected by the virus, reported The Canadian Press.

However, the app is now being blamed by some for creating chaos at airports, as it takes more time to fill out the forms.

Canada Customs and Immigration Union president Mark Weber attributed the ongoing chaos at airports to overdependence on technology and the ArriveCan app, in addition to front-line staff shortfalls.

Weber was quoted by the news agency as saying: “What we’re seeing, specifically on the customs side, is really long delays for travellers to clear customs when they’re coming into the country.”

He further noted that the government should hire 2,000 to 3,000 front-line staff to man various points of entry across the country.

Questions on ArriveCan should also be streamlined to make things faster. Furthermore, the app should have a user-friendly interface for people who are not tech-savvy, he stated.

Conservative transport critic Melissa Lantsman said: “Conservatives continue to call for a return to pre-pandemic travel rules and staffing levels to help alleviate the delays and disarray we continue to see at Canada’s airports, including ending the mandatory usage of the ArriveCan app.”  

However, Alexander Cohen, a spokesperson for Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, said that the app enables people to travel smoothly.

This office currently looks after the operations of ArriveCan, which allows travellers to digitally submit their information before entering the country.

Cohen was quoted by The Canadian Press as saying: “Global travel volumes are up over 700% since its low point during the pandemic, and airports across the world are feeling the impact. From too many flights to not enough staff, there is no single reason for these delays – but the ArriveCan app is not a major factor.”

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