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Travel chaos on returning to Canada

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Across this morning’s National Post front page is emblazoned a headline and picture of travel chaos at Pearson International. This is amplified by several articles on the inside. Our return trajectory from Heathrow to Vancouver via Calgary on June 9th was simply awful. Westjet left London an hour late, which, combined with the delays caused by idiotic government policies on arrival, made us miss our connection to Vancouver.

The most significant of these is the insistence by our government that we must use the ArriveCan app on a smart phone. The only way to obtain this is through the iPhone App store or the Google Play store. If you use these of course the respective companies know what you’re doing and can target you with unwanted advertising (or worse). If you don’t have a ‘smart’ phone you’re stymied and the implication is that you won’t be allowed re-entry into you’re home country.

Now many people have their own reasons for not owning a smart phone: I know a few who are still quite content with an old flip phone. But Canada Border Services and Minister The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino in their unparalleled arrogance demand that you must use this.

We might have made the connecting flight, but the immigration services at Calgary were completely unprepared and overwhelmed. The passport scanners in the arrival area were defective and many travellers were unable to use them. As a result a line of several hundred passengers accumulated to be interviewed by just two officials. (At first: after a considerable delay four more were added, but by this time chaos reigned and travellers were very, very unhappy. Yet crowed management officials blithely tried to reassure us that we’d be “just fine” and would make our connections – which of course we didn’t.)

Now the ArriveCan web site seems to imply that if you’re arrival is to anywhere other than Pearson or Vancouver, you didn’t actually need to use the ArriveCan app. Vide infra:

ArriveCan app image 1

This is not actually true – or else someone neglected to tell the Calgary Border Services officials about this. Many travellers arriving in Calgary were to be seen desperately trying to download and complete the app.

There is another alternative: you can use the ArriveCan web site on the internet. Of course to do so you need a computer, and a printer with a scanner. The scanner is required for you to create an image to upload to the web site. The business center at the Hilton Hotel at the airport had a computer and a printer, but Hilton International ‘policies’ forbid scanning and uploading images for security reasons, which I find quite understandable. So the on-line web site option was not available to us and, I suspect, to a great many travellers.

Stepping back for a moment, we must recall that all this is to protect citizens from Covid19, even though that horse has long since bolted from the barn. The vast majority of nations are not being so silly as Canada.

Thus after sitting several hours in a busy Terminal 3 at London Heathrow, where almost no one was wearing a mask, we are allowed onto our flight only on condition that we wore one for the next 9 hours. Oh, except we could remove them for eating and drinking, which of course everyone did for 3 meals and multiple occasions of supping beverages. (I kept an open bottle of water just in front of my lips for a long time ????)

The government bureaucrats who thought up this ludicrous idea can only be characterized as idiots. Besides which, there is not one iota of evidence published anywhere that wearing a mask in an aeroplane prevents the spread of the virus. The bureaucrats clearly didn’t take the time to think this through properly and as a result have unnecessarily inconvenienced thousands if not tens of thousands of travellers.

It remains to be seen whether or not The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino will step up and take responsibility for this farrago of nonsense and apologise to travelling Canadians. I’m not holding my breath, although idden away in an obscure part of the web site is the following half-hearted mea culpa:

ArriveCan app image 2





Another option

I came across an article in CTV news that although old contains info on using a BROWSER version of the app from any computer/tablet/phone.

The actual Browser link is 

I would strongly suggest doing a run-through including creating an account BEFORE leaving Canada.

Staffing current is a major issue everywhere both hiring and absence from illness. I strongly agree that the way forward is to simplify, simplify, SIMPLIFY, the process. 

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