Montreal couple forced into 14-day quarantine for failing to complete ArriveCAN entry application | CBC News

Ron Daymond and Evelyn Herskovitz were shocked when they were ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning to the Canadian land border on May 22 following a day trip to Plattsburgh, New York.

The fully vaccinated couple said a border official told them they needed to self-quarantine because they did not complete the ArriveCAN application.

“It’s ridiculous” Herskovitz said from his home in Montreal. “People don’t even have to quarantine for 14 days when they have COVID, so it doesn’t make any sense.”

The federal government has lifted most travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people. However, it still requires them to use the ArriveCAN mobile app or desktop version to submit your travel and COVID-19 related health information within 72 hours before your arrival in Canada.

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

Some politicians say it is time to remove the app because it creates problems for travelers and hampers tourism.

Conservative MP Raquel Dancho of Manitoba Riding from Kildonan—St. Paul called for an end to the ArriveCAN app during question period in the House of Commons on May 9. (CPAC)

Complaints about ArriveCAN include technical failures, harsh penalties for offendersand not be easy to use for the elderly.

“When I say ArriveCAN, what words come to mind? ‘Unreliable,’ ‘frustrating,’ ‘age-seeking,’ ‘broken’…these are some of the words my constituents have used,” the conservative critic said. of public security Raquel. Dancho last month during question period in the House of Commons.

“The application is so difficult that some older people have to cancel trips.”

CBSA responds

the federal government announced on wednesday that ArriveCAN will remain in force until at least June 30.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) told CBC News in an email that it has measures in place to help travelers with ArriveCAN. includewhen feasible, help people complete the application at the land border or allow them to return to the US to complete it, the CBSA said.

Spokeswoman Rebecca Purdy said that beginning May 24, “to allow for greater flexibility,” the CBSA will let vaccinated Canadian ground travelers out with a warning the first time they don’t complete the application.

Daymond and Herskovitz, who traveled on May 22, said they were offered no options, even though this was their first trip outside of Canada since the pandemic, and they were unaware ground travelers had to fill out the application.

“We have vaccine passports. We have our travel documents,” Herskovitz said. “We are being penalized because we didn’t have an app on our phones.”

Because the couple must self-quarantine, Daymond, a service technician, said he was forced to take two weeks off without pay.

“We have a mortgage to pay. It’s a dent in our budget,” Herskovitz said. “It’s all a punishment.”

The CBSA said it cannot comment on individual cases.

$5 service to fill out the application

The Public Health Agency of Canada said ArriveCAN is required to help protect the health of travelers and speed up processing time at the border.

“It’s the fastest, easiest and safest way for travelers to show that they meet all public health requirements,” spokeswoman Tammy Jarbeau said in an email.

But the union that represents CBSA officers says the app is causing lines.

“We have travelers showing up without having completed it, which obviously slows things down a lot, especially at land borders,” said Mark Weber, national president of the Immigration and Customs Union.

Some of those people end up at C&E Feeds in Calais, Maine, looking for help.

The package pickup and farm store is located near the New Brunswick border. For a $5 fee, which covers the cost of staff time, employees help travelers complete the application.

Sue Provencher, manager of C&E Feeds in Calais Maine, said her stores serve up to a dozen travelers a day who need help filling out the ArriveCAN application. (Alexandre Silberman/CBC)

Manager Sue Provencher said C&E Feeds serves up to a dozen Canadian and American travelers a day, many sent there by local CBSA officials.

CBSA “asked us if we wanted [help]because they had to change a lot of people,” he said.

Many people applying for assistance are seniors, Provencher said.

“A lot of older people don’t have access to a computer. They don’t have cell phones, they don’t have laptops or tablets, and they don’t know how to use them.”

The CBSA confirmed that officers sometimes provide inquiring travelers with information about places that offer ArriveCAN assistance.

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Niagara Falls, Ontario Mayor Jim Diodati said the app is a diversion for Americans of all ages who can’t be bothered to visit Canada until it is removed.

According to Statistics CanadaAmericans took 479,500 road trips to Canada in April, a 50% decrease compared to April 2019 before the pandemic.

“It’s just another layer of red tape,” Diodati said of the application. “It’s another reason not to come to Canada, avoid us and go somewhere else.”

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