As airports across Canada deal with continuous delays and long lines, the federal government threatened travellers on Thursday with fines if they don’t use the ArriveCAN app before boarding a plane.
The official Health Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada posted from their Twitter account a message to intimidate travellers who have not completed their ArriveCAN screening may be charged and subject to additional repercussions,
“All travelers still need a valid ArriveCAN receipt within 72 hours before their arrival to Canada and/or before boarding a plane or cruise ship destined for Canada, regardless of vaccination status,” tweeted Health Canada.
The government of Canada website says travellers who are not citizens or permanent residents who do not comply with handing over their private medical details could be denied boarding.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents could run the risk of not being elidable for the “fully vaccinated” traveller exemption will be required to quarantine and you “may be subject to fines or enforcement action.”
However the rules are much different for another set of people “foreign nationals eligible to enter Canada under another entry exemption (such as foreign work, study, compassionate grounds) will not be denied boarding or entry,”
The “fully vaccinated” traveller exemption is only available to Canadians who have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Those who can prove they are “fully vaccinated” are not subject to the same quarantine and testing requirements that unvaccinated travellers are subject to since the federal government lifted its travel mandate in June.
Health Canada also brazenly blamed the ongoing airport delay crisis on travellers in the tweet. The federal government’s refusal to accept responsibility for the backlogs is not new.
Omar Alghabra, the Liberal Transport Minister, has also claimed that travellers are to blame for the long lines and delays.
“We are seeing that the surge for the demand to travel is putting a lot of pressure on our airports and our security systems. We are making sure that we increase resources. We are working with airports. We are working with airlines to address this issue. This is a priority,” said Alghabra.
In response to the threats by Public Health the Justice Centre For Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) is currently in the process of assessing the legal basis for the ArriveCan app.
“The fact that Public Health is threatening Canadians with fines over essentially an administrative step is disturbing. Canadians have a right to enter and leave the country without delay as is written in their passports and is protected under section 6 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is another example of how the government is restricting the rights and freedoms of Canadians without justification, and making travelling unnecessarily difficult.” JCCF told BC Rise in a email
To address the the airport and border delays, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a task force to do the job of one Minister and hired additional airport personnel; however, critics argue that Ottawa’s actions were insufficient and that ArriveCAN should be scrapped.
In July 2021 Saadi Kadhum was fined a little over $6,000 because he forgot his password to access his ArriveCAN receipt to show his documents. At the time he did submit an appeal to challenge the fine in court.
Earlier this week Chrystia Freeland was asked the role the ArriveCAN App plays today. She said the government is “constantly reevaluating” what they can do to make things easier and smoother at Canada’s borders and “Covid is still here”.
Health Professionals around the world have already admitted that Covid-19 is going to be with use forever like the common cold and the flu. Earlier this week at a media conference in Brampton Ontario Chrystia Freeland teased the idea the ArriveCAN app will be here forever by saying “that Covid is still here” when asked what the role the ArriveCAN app plays today.
“On the ArriveCAN app and its, uh, role it plays today. Um, I’m certainly aware of the challenges we are facing at our borders and at our airports. And I think everyone in Brampton is very aware of that too. And defiantly the federal government is and needs to be constantly reevaluating what we can do to make things easier and smoother at all of our borders.”
“At the same time we do need to appreciate the measures we have taken so far have saved literally tens of thousands of lives that Covid is still here. So that’s a balance we have to strike and we need to constantly reevaluate”.