House Committee Hears Impact of ArriveCan App on Canadian Industry


Requiring travelers to use the ArriveCan mobile app during the pandemic has increased the burden on Canadian border agents, discouraged tourism while costing businesses big money, several people said. A witness told the Congressional Commission of Inquiry.

“During COVID we lost two tourism years. Rep. Baldinelli said at a meeting of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on International Trade on September 27.

“We’ve been advocating that for months [ArriveCan] And border restrictions have been lifted, joining more than 60 other countries that have ended border restrictions.

The committee is investigating the potential impact of the ArriveCan app on certain industries in Canada.

Mark Weber, National President Customs and Immigration Bureau The CIU, which represents Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials, said that while ArriveCan caused delays at the border, it contributed “little” to security.

“As far as border agents are concerned, the last few months have shown that ArriveCan has failed to facilitate cross-border travel and has done little to address the severe gaps in border security that plague our country. he said.

Weber told the commission that border patrol officers “all over the country” were relieved that the app would no longer be mandatory on Oct. 1.

“Due to a poorly designed app that failed to take into account the idiosyncrasies of our borders, no one imagines that the best use of trained law enforcement officers is to provide IT support. I’m sure you didn’t,” he said.

Webber was one of several witnesses invited to testify before a House committee on September 27. Other witnesses included Barbara Barrett, executive director of the Frontier Duty Free Association, Douglas Lovegrove, president of Ocella Technologies, Inc., and Kenneth Beeger. Her CEO of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.

“symbol of problem”

The ArriveCan app was initially introduced to allow travelers arriving by land and air to report their COVID-19 vaccination status and provide pre-departure test results to CBSA. However, its reach has been expanded as a digitized border arrivals tool that people entering Canada at certain airports can now use to fill out customs and immigration forms instead of the paper versions. rice field.

On Sept. 26, liberals announced that the government would not renew a council order on travel obligations set to expire on Sept. 30, thus ending mandatory use of the ArriveCan app. The government is also removing all federal testing, quarantine and isolation requirements and mandating submission of health information through ArriveCan.

Lovegrove, who has a company near Windsor, Ontario, said the app has severely impacted his business, which relies heavily on customers from the United States.

“Until maybe a week or so ago, when I started hearing about the removal of ArriveCan’s mandate, it felt like the government was walking down my throat,” he told the commission.

While defending the ArriveCan app and his party’s pandemic response, Liberal MP James Maloney said Lovegrove’s remarks were “unfair.”

“I think it’s a little unfair when you make statements like ‘the government has stepped in your throat’ because … you’re talking about staffing shortages and COVID restrictions,” Maloney said. I got

“The borders were closed for almost two years.

“The problem is, as I see it, everyone is blending all these things. [issues] Together, ArriveCan becomes a symbol of the problem. Indeed, it is the solution to many problems at the border. “

Maloney said ArriveCan has been criticized for causing delays and negatively impacting businesses, but believes critics of the app “mainly because they’re personally inconvenient.” said.

In response, Lovegrove said about a third of his fully vaccinated customers had no problem using the technology, but another about a third who were fully vaccinated U.S. citizens. A third said they have a fundamental problem with using foreign government applications on their work phone. Or by personal phone. “

Lovegrove said the remaining third of his customers may not have been vaccinated and had trouble traveling to Canada due to restrictions.

“Until just a week ago, they were assumed to be leprosy, had nowhere to go, and unfortunately could not do business with them,” Lovegrove said.

“We have million-dollar contracts on a regular basis, and we need to interact with those people at our facility,” he said.

Bieger, CEO of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, testified that many issues surrounding the ArriveCan app and COVID-19 restrictions are “inextricably linked.”

“If you don’t have a vaccination requirement, you don’t need ArriveCan,” he said.

Andrew Chen


Andrew Chen is a reporter for the Epoch Times based in Toronto.