With chaos circulating inside of Canada's major airports, the federal government is facing pressure to drop its ArriveCan app. Not only are travellers dealing with delays and cancelled flights, but more staff are needed on site.
A Globe and Mail article outlines the dire situation at Canada's airports:
For weeks, many have wound up stranded for hours at Canadian airports, most often Toronto’s Pearson International. This past weekend, Canadian airlines and airports had more flight delays than nearly any other country in the world. The blame is falling on staff shortages and the ArriveCan app, which was implemented for travellers to prove they are vaccinated and that they have a quarantine plan if they contract COVID-19.
"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," said Mark Weber, president of the Customs and Immigration Union.
Weber also suggested that “travellers should not have to input the address of where they are staying if there is no contact tracing. The app can also be hard to navigate for people who aren’t tech savvy,” the Globe reported.
Payman Parseyan, a project manager in the oil and gas industry who has travelled internationally often since he first downloaded the app, described ArriveCan as “completely useless:"
“It’s been fairly infrequent that I’ve been checked and I’ve landed back in Canada through Pearson [Toronto], Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal. It just seems to be hit or miss whether the CBSA officer is going to ask for the ArriveCan app or not."
With all that is happening, global airlines are scheduled to carry more than 100 million passengers this week, according to aviation consultancy firm OAG. “This is the highest number since January, 2019, although the figure will drop as airlines cancel flights to alleviate the airport bottlenecks, OAG said.
“Security agents at the eight largest Canadian airports conducted preflight checks on almost 156,000 people on July 3 as passenger volumes remain below 2019 levels,” according to the Globe. “On June 30, agents checked almost 161,000 passengers, the most since Jan. 2, 2020. This was the eve of the pandemic that grounded much of the world’s airline industry as governments closed borders and imposed travel restrictions.”
Air Canada said last week that they will cut down their schedules for July and August by more than 9,000 flights.
The office of Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is responsible for ArriveCan app. His spokesperson, Alexander Cohen, said that the app exists to make travel “easier and more efficient, allowing those entering Canada to electronically submit their information before arriving at the border.”
Is that really the case though? If the Arrivecan app worked so easily, why are so many travellers flustered with its technology?