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AGAR: ArriveCAN is now voluntary — and I didn’t volunteer – Toronto Sun

Publishing date:

Oct 03, 2022  •  2 hours ago  •  2 minute read  •  8 Comments

A woman walks through Pearson International Airport in Toronto, March 16, 2020.
A woman walks through Pearson International Airport in Toronto, March 16, 2020. Photo by Nathan Denette / Files /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Hello fellow travellers. Here is the report from window seat A14, as I flew back into Toronto Sunday night from the USA.

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The pandemic rules have changed. Using the ArriveCAN app is now voluntary. I didn’t volunteer.

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I did not get asked at the airport in Minneapolis for the app, for my vaccine records, nor did I get told to wear a mask.

I did overhear a woman with two little children all in a panic because she couldn’t figure out what to do with the app. I guess she got it worked out because she was in line ahead of me for boarding, unable to figure out what zone she was in for boarding purposes.

Perhaps she had the same information I had. The airline sent me a text a couple of days before the flight, telling me to make sure I did the app and that I was vaccinated.

So I would say to Air Canada, “figure it out.” Infrequent flyers should be able to count on the airlines and the airports to have their ducks in a row.

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There were still signs Sunday night in the Pearson Airport about having to fill out the app. Take those down, please. It is confusing.

Mom and the kids got on the plane and I didn’t mind that her children were noisy two rows back on the plane. Kids are noisy. Get over it.

It all went smoothly. I was bringing back a spice we can only get in that city – it is a private concoction made by a terrific hamburger restaurant in the suburbs called Lion’s Tap.

The security guy swabbed each bottle, but he was very friendly while doing it and I was on my way.

There was no mask requirement on the plane. After we got off the plane I had to stop at the little self-serve, virtual-agent kiosk, answer some questions and get my photo taken.

That is what we had to do with the ArriveCAN app filled out so I am at a loss as to why we are keeping the app in place at all.

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As of Monday, the government of Canada website read: “Today, ArriveCAN offers the Advance CBSA Declaration feature. This optional feature is for travellers who want to save time at certain Canadian international airports by providing their customs and immigration declaration to the CBSA in advance.

“In the coming months and years, new border-related features will come online in ArriveCAN and change the border experience for the better.”

We’ll see. My experience using it or not using it is the same, other than not being hassled about it, or struggling with it when it didn’t work when it was mandatory.

If filling it out ahead meant not stopping for the kiosk experience at the point of entry, that would be a time saver.

I will say that after I passed the kiosk test the line moved well. The border guard looked at the receipt, drew a red line on it with a sharpie and I was out of there. Smooth.

So, to conclude, I think things are getting better for air travel. Anyone can travel now so long as they have a passport. Vaccine not required.

The ArriveCAN app? Pending. Hang in there. We are almost back to normal.