Here’s why many think ArriveCan should be retired

Here’s why many think ArriveCan should be retired

What is the ArriveCan application for, imposed on travelers when they arrive in the country? This is the question asked by experts from various backgrounds, who believe that the application is detrimental to the fluidity of International transport.

From the outset, the application had to facilitate the arrival of travelers in the country. Rather, the opposite is happening: customs officers notice that ArriveCan is rather slowing down the return of Canadians. “It’s unnecessary bureaucracy, criticizes the lecturer in the Department of Political Science at UQAM, André Lamoureux. In the current context, it’s just an added barrier in the already complicated situation of travel with COVID-19.

The Trudeau administration is getting bogged down rather than acknowledging its mistakes, he believes. “This is a government that has never confessed its wrongs since coming to power. Recently, one only has to think of the problems at the passport office, or when claiming employment insurance. It is however something that the Legault government is doing in Quebec: we only have to think of the masks, and of the crisis in the CHSLDs”, he compares.

The development of ArriveCan cost $19.8 million, then $4.9 million was spent for the maintenance and proper functioning of the application. This is confirmed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in an email exchange with Subway. “It’s a waste of public funds,” says Mr. Lamoureux.

Difficult estimate

So, is $25 million to develop an application too much? “It’s difficult to estimate, because behind the application that we see, we don’t know all of its hidden characteristics, explains the full professor of software engineering at Polytechnique, Michel Dagenais. We do not know the size of the servers required, the systems used. Certainly, having a good system that doesn’t create a lot of bugs costs money.”

Creating the app “probably wasn’t a big challenge,” he continues, as it’s a simple form. He calls the design “correct”, but questions the need for it to be maintained. “Computer projects that are abandoned, even before they see the light of day, are not uncommon, recalls Mr. Dagenais. The big question is if we keep it, what is it for? No one else in the world has an app like this.”

Do civil servants want to keep this on principle, even if it pisses people off? With COVID already running everywhere, I don’t know if all the trouble caused is necessary.

Michel Dagenais, full professor of software engineering at Polytechnique

Unanimous reviews

In Ottawa, the opposition parties are unanimous: ArriveCan must be withdrawn, or at least suspended until it is improved. “It’s time for the federal government to get its feet back on the ground: its actions are causing more harm to the Canadian population than they are helping them,” denounced Conservative MP Luc Berthold.

Conservatives are not opposed to the use of an app, but believe it needs to be better designed. “We do not offer enough latitude to travelers. In our constituency office, we have to help several travelers each week. Why not allow those who do not have technology to simply show their proof of vaccination on paper?” asks Mr. Berthold.

“If the government absolutely wants to keep ArriveCAN, the only thing to do for it to have a future is to suspend its use while it corrects its many problems which, for the moment, only have the effect of giving headaches for travellers,” adds Bloc Québécois Transport Critic Xavier Barsalou-Duval.

Long-term maintenance?

ArriveCan is maintained for reasons of “operational considerations, scientific evidence and taking into account the epidemiological situation in Canada and abroad”, defends Ottawa. “Suspending the use of ArriveCAN with no change in public health requirements would result in longer processing times for travellers, since these public health functions would have to be performed manually by CBSA officers at points of entry. entrance”, we justify.

Advance reporting option in the ArriveCan app could be maintained beyond the pandemic, CBSA says at Subway. “Early usage data shows that the process is 30% faster at the terminal when travelers use ArriveCAN to make a declaration in advance. The CBSA is exploring ways to provide an improved and faster border experience for travelers as part of its long-term initiative to modernize traveler services, and the ArriveCAN app is one part of those efforts. »

Since July 7, the ArriveCan app has been used over 22 million times.

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