No more blockades at the border: goodbye to the ArriveCAN app

Finally and thankfully, ArriveCAN is dead on arrival at airports and border crossings, as mandatory vaccination for foreigners entering Canada is lifted at the end of the month, according to government sources.

The glitch-prone app, which frantic foreigners scrambled to download in customs lines or while huddled in cars near land entry points, had its day early in the pandemic as Canada cautiously opened a door to international travel. .

But the travel industry and border businesses have spent the past year arguing that its economic health demanded its removal, insisting that the app with its questionnaires and vaccination codes did little to keep Canada protected from a world infected with COVID.

And they were proven right.

The timing of the prime minister’s decision on Thursday (expected to be announced on Monday) was due more to the need to protect Justin Trudeau’s political skin than the health of the general public.

Granted, perhaps budding Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre deserves a helping hand for encouraging the government to bring Canada into the high-flying line with the rest of the traveling world.

One of the biggest clapping lines in their anti-gatekeeper arsenal has been removed from the list with the cabinet’s decision to make ArriveCAN simply optional.

But the app as an alleged agent of chaos at airports was increasingly seen as government stubbornness over common sense, amplifying that accusation of this as an example of the liberal “awakening” you’ve been hearing a lot about lately.

So without much, if any, protest from health authorities so wary of the pandemic, the app and associated random testing at airports will be abandoned, leaving behind a legacy of missed flight connections from lineups generated by ArriveCAN while costing the economy mega millions. of American dollars from fearful tourists who do not show up.

It was, at least since it infected all the Omicron, so useless. Airport arrivals always tested positive at about the same rate or less than the general public. There has never been a greater risk of variants for someone arriving in Canada than for a typical Albertan heading to Saskatchewan. And if you wanted to detect a variant, you found it in the sewer systems and not in a random airport test.

For most of the last year, it’s been a maddening and confusing case of the self-righteous preachy style of Big Brother Knows Best about the legitimate substance of public health.

Also, where there was a will, there was always a way to bypass mandatory testing, fake the ArriveCan app, or get around the vaccination process with money or connections.

When I was in Mexico last winter, it was an open secret that you could buy a negative COVID test result for $200 in a matter of minutes, a bargain compared to being isolated for a week or more after a positive COVID test. which, for the record, does not apply to me.

And then there was the curious case of a rabid anti-vaccine acquaintance of mine who showed up in Toronto recently claiming to have ‘obtained’ fake proof of vaccination from a pharmacy in Texas.

In other words, money could buy illegal entry into Canada, while a cash-strapped family with kids was stuck in a motel until those double pink bars no longer showed up on the test strip.

ArriveCAN may have been born as a well-intentioned attempt to safely open the border to vaccinated visitors, but it’s a relief that a computer application no longer decides whether you’re worthy to enter Canada. May it remain forever blocked at the border.

That is the conclusion.

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