On Wednesday The Justice Centre filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Canada to challenge ArriveCAN app and quarantine measures on behalf of 11 Canadians either fined for not using the ArriveCAN and/or ordered to quarantine for 14 days after returning home from abroad.
The Justice Centre says the applicants in the legal challenge have received fines of up to $8,500 each and been forced to disclose private medical information via ArriveCAN.
The legal challenge requests the court to strike down the mandatory use of ArriveCAN and declare unconstitutional the 14-day quarantine requirements for Canadians who refuse to use ArriveCAN when returning home.
ArriveCan was first put into effect in April 2020 to require returning Canadians to submit Covid quarantine plans. For those that fly, it became required on November 21, 2020. While the US-Canada land border crossing was still closed, the federal government mandated ArriveCan for all land travellers in February 2021. Travelers had to upload their vaccination records to the ArriveCAN app after the Covid vaccine rollouts.
“Mr. Matthew Leccese, one of the applicants, went to the United States for 25 minutes to pick up some parts for his vehicle. Upon his return, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) demanded that he submit his vaccination certificate via ArriveCAN. Mr. Leccese refused because he had privacy concerns with ArriveCAN, but offered to present his vaccination certificate. CBSA refused to accept his paper certificate and issued him a ticket for $7,210 for not using ArriveCAN.”
“Mr. Alexander Macdonald, another applicant, attempted to cross the U.S. border in April 2022. He was refused entry by U.S. border agents and was allowed to return to Canada without issue. He tried to cross the U.S. border again in July 2022 and was again denied entry and returned to the Canadian side of the border. This time a CBSA agent ordered Mr. Macdonald to download ArriveCAN and submit to the 14-day quarantine despite never having set foot in the U.S.”
“Ms. Amanda Yates returned to Canada via a land crossing. Her husband used ArriveCAN on their behalf, but a glitch in the system sent them to secondary screening. She refused to disclose her vaccination status and was fined and required to quarantine for 14 days. Her husband did disclose his vaccination status, and was not required to quarantine, despite living in the same house with Ms. Yates.”
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has made claims the ArriveCAN app isn’t causing problems with Canadians’ right to travel.
A recent glitch in the ArriveCAN app sent notifications to over 10,000 vaccinated Canadians, requiring them to quarantine for 14 days. The government was slow by nearly two weeks to respond with a correction. It took the government 12 days to inform the affected individuals that the ArriveCAN app had malfunctioned and their 14-day house arrest was unnecessary.
American lawmakers are calling for the scrapping of the ArriveCAN app.
“This requirement disincentivizes travel, harms the flow of commerce, and burdens travellers with the submission of private health information,” New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican, wrote in a letter last week to Mendicino and Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S.
Conservative MP Baldinelli said that Alghabra’s own team has said at the border crossing traffic is down 50% but the wait times are up over 2 hours and called out Alghabra to back up his statement the ArriveCAN app is not impacting wait times
“who told you minister that ArriveCAN is not having any impact on wait times?” Baldinelli asked, but Alghabra did not give an answer and couldn’t provide any sources.