ArriveCAN app under review by Canadian government

PLATTSBURGH — The Canadian government is considering letting the ArriveCAN app and other pandemic-related border crossing restrictions expire at the end of the month, much to the delight of local officials here in the North Country.

“We have continued to encourage our Canadian friends to drop the app as a border crossing mandate, in concert with a growing number of organizations and officials in both countries, and are pleased such a move is now under active review,” Garry Douglas, North Country Chamber of Commerce president, said.

“While car counts at Champlain reached 70% of 2019 levels this past summer, they only reached 50% in most other areas and there is no question that mandated use of the app is a large factor while providing little benefit in exchange for lost travel. More and more Canadians and Canadian M.P.’s have been calling for its demise and it seems the grassroots effort is being heard.”

Border restrictions

Severe border restrictions were put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, limiting travel to only essential services.

Many of the restrictions were lifted late last year as both countries strived to resume more normal border activities.

The ArriveCAN app was implemented last year and travelers are required to use it to notify border agents of when and where they would be crossing into Canada. The app was met with mixed results with some saying it worked fine, but leaving many others frustrated.

Chilling effect

Clinton County Legislature Chairman Mark Henry (R-Area 3, Chazy) said the idea of the app is fine, but it has not gotten the best reviews.

“We’ve heard reports that it has been difficult for some to use and it has had a chilling effect on border crossings,” Henry said.

“It would only be a positive if they did away with it and other restrictions because this affects everyone in our region.”

Henry said border crossings can still be safe even without the app because the process still requires vetting at the booth.

“Even if you do the app you still have to go and talk to the officer and they can do what they need to do without the app like they’ve done for years and years,” he said.

U.S.-Canada relations

Douglas said expiring the app will go a long way to restoring cross-border relations.

“A key goal of both countries must be to restore back and forth travel to previous levels, not only for economic reasons but because it is the bedrock of the entire U.S.-Canada special relationship,” Douglas said.

“The abandonment of remaining border crossing mandates and restrictions would be in time for us to again connect for the upcoming holidays and to look forward to a 2023 that will get us fully back together.”

Douglas thanked U.S. and Canadian partners who have advocated strongly for abandonment of ArriveCAN including Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Brian Higgins and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as the Canadian American Business Council.


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