No more blockages at the border: good riddance to the ArriveCAN app

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

The glitch-prone app, which frantic foreigners rushed to download in customs queues or while crammed into cars near land entry points, surfaced at the start of the pandemic as Canada cautiously opened a door to international travel.

But the travel industry and border businesses have spent the last year arguing that their economic health demands its elimination, insisting that the app with its questionnaires and vaccination codes has done little. thing to protect Canada from a COVID-infected world.

And they were right.

The timing of the Prime Minister’s decision on Thursday (which is expected to be announced on Monday) was driven more by the need to protect Justin Trudeau’s political skin than by the health of the general public.

OK, maybe young Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre deserves a hand in pushing the government to put Canada in line with the rest of the traveling world.

One of the biggest lines of applause in its anti-custodial arsenal was taken off the roster with the cabinet’s decision to make ArriveCAN simply optional.

But the app as an alleged agent of the airport mayhem was increasingly seen as the government’s stubbornness over common sense, which amplified this accusation as an example of the liberal ‘wake-up call’ you have Heard a lot about it lately.

So without much, if any, protest from the pandemic-cautious health authorities, the app and associated random testing at airports will be abandoned, leaving behind a legacy of missed flight connections from queues. queues generated by ArriveCAN while costing the economy millions of dollars. US dollars because of the fear of tourists not showing up.

It was, at least since everyone spread to Omicron, so unnecessary. Airport arrivals have consistently tested positive at around the same rate or less than the general public. There has never been as much risk of variants in someone coming to Canada as in a typical Albertan going 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 past year, it’s been a maddening and confusing case of do-gooder preacher-style Big Brother-knows-best on a legitimate public health substance.

Also, where there was a will, there was always a way to circumvent mandatory testing, tamper with the ArriveCAN app, or dodge the vaccination process with money or connections.

It was an open secret when I was in Mexico last winter that you could buy a negative COVID result for US$200 in minutes, a bargain compared to being held in solitary confinement for a week or more after a test. COVID positive which for the record did not apply to me.

And then there was the curious case of a rabid anti-vaxxer acquaintance of mine who recently showed up in Toronto confiding that she had “obtained” fake proof of vaccination from a Texas pharmacy.

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

ArriveCAN may have been born out of a well-meaning attempt to open the border safely to vaccinated visitors, but there’s a welcome relief that a computer application no longer decides whether you’re worthy of entering Canada. May he remain stuck at the border forever.

This is the bottom line.