space traveling warriors tier list : Border mayors urge federal government to scrap ArriveCAN app

A group of mayors and businesses in communities along the Canada-U.S. border are calling on the federal government to shut down the ArriveCAN app, saying it is discouraging Americans from visiting and shopping in Canada.

Mayor Mike Bradley of Sarnia, Ontario, said the app was a disaster and is no longer needed.

“When you’re riding a dead horse, dismount,” he said. “That’s what the federal government needs to do.”

In an interview with CBC News Network, Bradley said he doesn’t feel the government is listening to his concerns about the app and its effect on tourism in border communities, even though the government is abandoning other public health measures.

“All the other stuff is fading away, but here we are, the main entry points to Canada, and we’re still getting laid off,” he said.

WATCH | Mayor of Sarnia, Ontario urges Ottawa to get rid of ArriveCAN:

Get rid of the ArriveCan app, says Sarnia, Ont., Mayor

The federal government needs to get rid of the ArriveCan app for people entering Canada by land because it’s hurting tourist business in border towns, says Sarnia, Ont., Mayor Mike Bradley.

Bradley also said that he recently heard from American tourists who canceled a trip to Canada because the app is still needed to cross the border.

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Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said his community depends on tourism and the 10 million people who used to cross the border every year before the pandemic.

“We usually have a traffic jam,” Diodati told reporters. “This year, with this uncertainty and confusion and the maze of rules at the border with this ArriveCAN app, it will be a disaster at the border if Americans choose to come.”

The ArriveCAN app was introduced during the pandemic to allow travelers to report their travel and vaccination status. Ottawa requires travelers to use the ArriveCAN mobile app, or its computer versionto submit your travel and COVID-19 related health information before arriving in Canada.

Travelers who fail to do so may face a 14-day quarantine and up to a $5,000 fine.

The calls to shut down the app come a day after the federal government announced it is easing a series of restrictions introduced during the pandemic. He didn’t announce that he was dropping the ArriveCAN app.

NDP MP Richard Cannings, whose British Columbia run from South Okanagan-West Kootenay includes six border crossings, said trade was down 95% for some of the businesses in his run.

“We really depend, in normal times, on this cross-border traffic,” he said.

Cannings said he would like to see the government build a system that keeps Canadians safe while allowing businesses to keep going.

Cannings said that some of his constituents find the ArriveCAN app difficult to use.

“My constituents are very concerned because many seniors don’t have phones, they don’t know what an app is and yet they have to produce it when they get back to Canada,” he said.

Government ‘punished border communities’: critic

Barbara Barrett is Executive Director of the Frontier Duty Free Association, the industry association for Canadian land border duty free shops. She said border communities are “the hardest hit among the hardest hit.”

“Border communities during the pandemic have been penalized by harsh federal measures that have not been applied to air or domestic travel,” she said. “Inexplicably, this federal government has punished border communities with inconsistent and inconsistent border travel rules.”

Barrett said Tuesday’s “shy” government announcement showed that Ottawa doesn’t understand the plight of border communities.

“Border businesses that rely on US tourism are still 50% down on 2019,” she said.

Diodati said the past two years have been devastating for tourism in the Niagara region.

People fill the streets in tourist areas of Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Friday, July 16, 2021. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press)

He urged the government to take the additional money it plans to spend on the ArriveCAN app and give it to municipalities to help them attract tourists.

“What is happening now is that Americans are showing up in their minivan with their family at the border with no knowledge of the ArriveCAN app,” Diodati said. “They don’t have roaming, they can’t download the app, there’s a line of cars behind them, they can’t enter the country.

“If you annoy your customers, they come back and tell all their friends and a lot of people are ignoring Canada and that will have lasting effects on this country.”

Diodati said he regularly talks with mayors across the US border

US companies have the upper hand now: Mayor

“They’re loving the situation now,” he said. “Canadians can easily and freely go to the US and spend all of our disposable income. of our money in the US, but we are not being matched.”

Pauline Quinlan, former mayor of the city of Bromont, Quebec, said the app is unnecessary and is discouraging tourism in her area.

Bradley said the mayors of border communities used to meet regularly with the federal government during the pandemic. Now, he said, they are not being consulted and the government is not responding to their needs.

“It’s like a boa constrictor in our communities that is just squeezing the economy when we should be going in the other direction,” he said.

US Congressman Brian Higgins, whose district includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls, echoed the call to scrap the ArriveCAN app.

“The ArriveCAN app and other restrictions remain a barrier to the free flow of people across the northern border,” Higgins said in a media statement.

“My office regularly receives calls from New Yorkers frustrated and confused by technology and the disjointed and ever-changing requirements for crossing between the US and Canada entirely.”

Appearing before the House of Commons’ international trade committee, Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) Vice President Denis Vinette said the ArriveCAN app allowed its officers to check passengers faster than the old system. of paper allowed. He said the app improved the flow across the border and minimized delays.

As of May 2, more than 99% of air travelers and 94% of people crossing land borders were using the ArriveCAN app, Vinette said.

The CBSA says it plans to add customs declarations to the ArriveCAN app.

“Later this month, we will launch, within the ArriveCAN app, advanced declarations where anyone arriving at the border can pre-submit their customs and immigration declaration,” Vinette told the committee.

Marie-Hélène Lévesque, Director General of Compliance and Enforcement at the Public Health Agency of Canada, described the app as a valuable tool that helped mitigate COVID-19 risks in international travel. While she acknowledged the border delays, she said it wasn’t because of the app.

App is not effective against COVID: tourism industry leader

Testifying before the trade committee on Wednesday, Beth Potter, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC), said the app is a nuisance to travelers and has failed to significantly reduce transmission of COVID-19.

“I would say mandatory use of ArriveCAN is no longer necessary for COVID-related purposes,” she told the committee.

“ArriveCAN has not proven to be the effective tool to stop COVID. It is widely seen as an obstacle to travel and is causing significant delays in arriving in Canada.”

Beth Potter, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, says ArriveCAN “has not proven to be the effective tool to stop COVID”. (CBC)

Potter said the app is particularly difficult for American travelers to Canada to use because they can’t always fill in sections that ask for the address they are traveling to, for example, or a location where they can be quarantined.

Mark Weber, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union, said the app has CBSA officials acting as “IT consultants” for travelers.

“It’s an incredible drain on resources. It’s a drain on time,” he told committee members.

But Weber said the app isn’t the only thing causing delays at entry points. Staff shortages are also a problem, he said.

“Even if the decision is to no longer use the app, the lack of staff we have on the front lines will still cause delays. This is something that also needs to be addressed,” he said.

Windsor West NDP MP Brian Masse didn’t mince his words on ArriveCAN.

“I can assure you that if every time parliamentarians had to return to [Parliamentary] Precinct and use ArriveCAN, we wouldn’t have this app,” he told the committee.

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